Walhi says land grabs degrading environment
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Mon, 06/07/2010
JAKARTA: The Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) alleges that land grabs by large-scale plantation companies are leading to rapid environmental degradation in West Kalimantan.
Local Walhi activist Hendrikus Adam said plantation companies that are expanding production opening new estates are damaging the most land.
Hendrikus made the statement while addressing a demonstration held in observance of the World Environment Day at Tanjungpura University in Pontianak on Saturday.
Activists at the demonstration demanded that the government stop illegal logging, land clearing and seizure of local community’s property.
Hendrikus said powerful plantation companies often intimidated locals who resist seizure of their land.
“Ironically, local governments are very generous when issuing new permits for plantation companies to open estates in West Kalaimantan,” he said as quoted by Antara.
Walhi’s statistics show 6,632 disasters from ecological degradation over the past 13 years.
Sawit Watch, a non-governmental organization that monitors oil palm plantations, has recorded 630 land-ownership conflicts between locals and companies so far this year.