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Victims of Hazardous Waste in Mojokerto Ask for Komnas HAM's Help  
TEMPO/Ishomuddin
Thursday, 18 May, 2017 | 12:18 WIB
Victims of Hazardous Waste in Mojokerto Ask for Komnas HAM's Help  

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Villagers of Lakardowo in Mojokerto district, East Java, are asking for help from the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) over alleged hazardous waste pollution in the village. Hazardous waste management company PT Putra Restu Ibu Abadi (PRIA) allegedly has stockpiled hazardous materials since 2010, polluting local wells in the process.

“We hope that the Komnas HAM would visit Lakardowo, hold dialogues with residents and hear our testimony and former plant workers who were involved in stockpiling hazardous waste in PT PRIA plant area,” Lakardowo Resident Presidium (Pendowo Bangkit) chairman Nurasim.

Pendowo Bankit also asks Komnas HAM to question the central government, East Java provincial government and Mojokerto administration over fresh water supply to the people. The people view that water pollution is attributable to the negligence of local agencies, namely the Environment and Forestry Office (LHK) and the Environment Agency of the province and regency.

“We also urge government institutions to prevent pollution from spreading further and mitigate its impacts on people’s health,” he said.

Data from Pendowo Bangkit said that at least 500 head of household in three villages have been affected by land, water and air pollution. Stockpiles of hazardous wastes allegedly polluted local wells, whereas the smoke from burning waste has led to respiratory problems.

People are afraid of using well water for drinking, bathing and cooking. They have to buy gallons of water for that purpose. “Over 300 residents, particularly children, suffer from itching and irritation after using polluted well water,” a local said.

A resident, who used to work for PT PRIA, Heru Siswoyo said that he witnessed the stockpiling of hazardous wastes by the company when it built a plant.

According to him, he and locals were not aware that the stockpiling violated the law. Having realized his mistake, he decided to quit.

An independent auditor appointed by the Environment Ministry is currently conducting an environmental audit of PT PRIA over alleged stockpiling of hazardous materials and pollution as well as hazardous waste trade with locals. The audit was recommended by the Environment Commission of the House of Representatives (DPR) in a hearing between the DPR, the Environment Ministry and PT PRIA, as well as resident representatives in December last year in Jakarta.

PT PRIA has denied the allegations. “There was no stockpiling. All have been destroyed and some have been processed into useful materials,” PT PRIA owner Tulus Widodo during a visit of DPR members to the company’s premise in November last year.

ISHOMUDDIN

 



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