Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Laundries plants to be moved

Source: The Jakarta Post

Amid residents' complaints of water pollution caused by laundry plants in the Sukabumi Selatan subdistrict, West Jakarta, the city administration said it would seek to relocate the plants to industrial estates and require them to treat their liquid waste.

"They can move to other locations designed for industrial estates. Of course, they have to equip themselves with waste treatment facilities, otherwise, we'll just be moving the problem somewhere else," City Deputy Governor Fauzi Bowo told reporters at City Hall.

Fauzi asserted that the administration may only allow the operation of home industry laundries that provide services to neighborhood customers, given the designated status of the subdistrict as a residential estate.

Currently, at least 50 garment processing plants laundering jeans from textile markets in the city have been operating in the area alongside several home industry laundries. All of them dump their untreated liquid waste into waterways causing severe pollution to the Pesanggrahan River and the Sekretaris River.

The City Environmental Management Agency (BPLHD) said the administration was preparing two sites in Semanan in West Jakarta and Pulogadung in East Jakarta to relocate the polluting plants.

"We are also looking into the possibility of providing a waste treatment facility there as it will be very costly for the factories to afford it themselves," the agency's head, Kosasih Wirahadikusumah, told The Jakarta Post.

He did not detail the cost of the facility.

"We'll need six months to persuade the owners of the laundry plants to relocate their businesses. The relocation process itself will take two or three months," Kosasih added.

He admitted that the administration would not take any sterner action against the owners of the plants for fear of "social unrest", ignoring the fact that the plants are violating prevailing regulations by polluting the environment and by operating without necessary permits.

"We have to bear in mind that the operation of these labor-intensive enterprises has helped the administration in providing job opportunities to residents," he argued.

Each plant employs between 40 and 50 workers.

Aside from pollution concerns, local residents have filed a complaint to the City Council against the operation of the plants because of the powerful water pumps that they use to draw ground water that has resulted in their own shallow wells drying up. They complained that they had to pay out money to purchase clean water everyday.