Jakarta, Kalimantan the most polluted areas: Govt index
Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Wed, 05/26/2010
Jakarta and Kalimantan are the most polluted regions in the country, according an environmental quality index issued by the Environment Ministry.
The index, which will be officially announced in commemoration of World Environmental Day on June 5, shows that most provinces fared poorly with regards to the environment.
“I am dissatisfied with the poor quality of the environment with an average score of only 59.79,” Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said.
“The poor quality of water put Jakarta and Kalimantan at the bottom of the index.”
The ministry assessed pollution levels in the air and water and the total forest coverage in 28 provinces between 2006 and 2009.
Bangka Belitung, West Sulawesi, North Maluku, West Papua and Riau Island were excluded from the study.
“As these are new provinces, we don’t have adequate data on water, air quality and forest coverage,” Nursiwan Taqim, the ministry’s deputy assistant in charge of the assessment, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
He said Bali, North Sulawesi and West Sumatra topped the index. “But 17 provinces scored lower than national average of 59.79,” he said.
The index uses a scale of zero to 100. A high score indicates better environmental quality.
The government has long been under pressure to address environmental degradation that has been blamed for aggravating natural disaster including droughts, floods and landslides.
The 2008 environmental report stated that the quality of air, water and rivers across the coun-
try declined due to poor law enforcement.
Most local administrations also failed to allot at least 30 percent of their areas as green spaces for the public.
Gusti said that in Kalimantan, the presence of large illegal mines with poor waste water management caused a decline in the quality of water in the island.
“The massive palm oil plantations allegedly use chemical fertilizers that also contributed to water pollution in Kalimantan,” he said.
To commemorate World Environmental Day, president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will give out environmental awards to individuals and the cleanest cities in the country.
The ministry’s deputy for communications and public empowerment, Henry Bastaman, said the President would provide 12 Kalpataru awards this year from the 282 nominees.
The Kalpataru is awarded to people or communities that have contributed to the preservation and improvement of the environment. So far, 264 people have received the award.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would also hand over Adipura awards to the cleanest cities in the country. Jakarta has previously won the award.