Monday, November 29, 2004

NGOs urge river free of home factories

Source: The Jakarta Post

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Tangerang

Tangerang's main river, the Cisadane, is now lined with clusters of home factories, which has prompted environmentalists to demand the regency administration to get rid of the buildings and return the riverbanks to their previous function as green areas.

Gema Palu, a non-governmental organization focusing on environmental protection, revealed on Thursday the result of its recent survey that showed a large number of buildings on the riverbanks were established without permits from the administration.

Dozens of the factories there operate without the required permits from the administration nor do they have proper waste treatment, said Gema Palu chairman, Mansur.

"We urge the administration to take action and sort out the illegal businesses and factories along the river because they are violating the law," he said.

The home factories produce a range of products from plastic bags and fiber goods to plates and motorboats.

As the businesses there were essentially illegal, according to Mansur, they did not contribute to the regency tax revenue "but continued to make money on public property, while polluting the river".

In the survey, some of the factories claimed they had obtained permits from the Coordinating Unit for Technical Control for the Ciliwung-Cisadane Rivers (KUPTSCC), formerly the Banten Provincial Coordinating Body for Ciliwung-Cisadane River Areas Control (BPSDA).

But head of Tangerang KUPTSCC, Suparno, said the body had never issued such a permit. "We've already asked the administration to evict them," he added.

Head of Tangerang environmental impact management agency Deden Sugandhi promised to put things back in order and to cope with problems emerging along the riverbanks.

"We will take over the case under coordination with the KUPTSCC and Gema Palu," he said.

However, Deden was unable to give an exact date that his agency would take action against the illegal buildings and factories, saying that he would also need to coordinate with other bureaucrats from the trade and industry agency, the spatial and building layout agency and the manpower agency.