PRESS RELEASE: Environmental Groups Decry Indonesian Waste Chaos Call for Strict Ban on Waste Import
Jakarta, Indonesia - 5 November 2019. The international waste trade watchdog organization Basel Action Network (BAN) together with Indonesian environmental organizations Ecoton, WALHI, and Nexus3 today in calling the waste import situation in Indonesia dire and "out-of-control" which can only be resolved by the Indonesian Government dealing more responsibly with the illegal shipments that have already arrived at their shores, while enacting a full prohibition on future imports. Last week the activists revealed that many of the illegal, contaminated shipments of paper scrap the government promised to send back to the United States were instead exported again to India, Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, Netherlands, Canada and South Korea.
"Under the Basel Convention, Indonesia should have taken strict control over the re-export of the illegal waste shipments," said Yuyun Ismawati Drwiega of Nexus3. "Yet, not only did the government break their promise to return them, it appears they failed to notify the receiving country governments or ensure that they would be managed in an environmentally sound manner as required by the treaty."
According to the environmentalists, Indonesia is required to:
notifying the recipient government of the onward re-exported shipment including a proper description of the contaminated waste.
work with the country of origin to either have them take back the waste for environmentally sound management, or to ensure such management in an alternate country.
receive consent from the importing country prior to re-export.
ensure, with the importing country, that the receiving facility is known and known to be an environmentally sound recycling or disposal facility.
criminally prosecute anybody involved in the trafﬁcking of these wastes if their movement and ﬁnal management, does not conform with the obligations of the Convention.
"Without properly involving the country of origin, or taking the steps to prosecute Basel Convention violators, the criminality will just continue, and more containers will keep coming to pollute Indonesia," said Jim Puckett, Director of BAN.
The waste invasion of Indonesia began soon after China banned the import of almost all wastes two years ago. China's solution to pollution has now become Indonesia's nightmare.
"The mountains of plastic, paper and electronic waste from the United States, Europe and Australia is piling up and much of it is simply set aﬁre throughout our countryside," said Daru Setyo Rini of Ecoton. "China banned this stuff for a reason. We must do the same.”
"We urge President Jokowi to conduct a complete investigation of the waste import business, including all ministries and corporations involved," said Nur Hidayati of WALHI. "We are calling on President to revoke the permits of polluters and enact a total ban on waste imports."
The environmentalists are calling on Indonesia to:
Act with urgency to be sure that illegally imported waste already sent to Indonesia is sent back to the countries of origin in full accordance with the rules of the Basel Convention.
Adopt the same import restrictions as China to ensure Indonesia is not seen as the new global waste dumping grounds.
The diverted shipments violated government order and as such are illegal and fraudulent. Such activity must be brought to justice and the victim countries communicated with – some of these shipment will involve further illegality in the receiving country.
The government must ask for the actual shipping papers that accompanied the shipment of those container numbers (Bill of Ladings). These can be obtained from the shipping lines involved as well as from the re-exporter.
Both the notiﬁcation papers and the bills of lading of the re-exportation need to be made public to ensure full transparency.
The country of origin’s competent authority (Basel Convention or equivalent) as well as the general public (placed on website) needs to be informed at the time of export of the container number, the ship, and route, and ETA of the return.
An independent monitoring committee should now be established to ensure the import/export of waste and their re-export complies with all regulations and government orders.
About Nexus3 Foundation Nexus for Health, Environment and Development Foundation (formerly known as BaliFokus Foundation) is working to protect the public, especially the vulnerable population, from health and the environmental impact of development, towards a just, toxic-free, and sustainable future. www.nexus3foundation.org
About Basel Action Network (BAN) Founded in 1997, Basel Action Network is a 501(c)3 charitable organization of the United States, based in Seattle, WA. BAN is the world's only organization focused on confronting the global environmental justice and economic inefﬁciency of toxic trade and its devastating impacts. Today, BAN serves as the information clearinghouse on the subject of waste trade for journalists, academics, and the general public. Through its investigations, BAN uncovered the tragedy of hazardous electronic waste dumping in developing countries. www.BAN.org.
About ECOTON ECOTON works towards the realisation of biodiversity sustainability and environmental functions for humans, through equitable and participatory river ecosystem and wetland management. www.ecoton.or.id About WALHI The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) is the largest environmental movement organization in Indonesia. WALHI actively encourages efforts to save and restore the environment in Indonesia. WALHI works to continue to encourage the recognition of the right to the environment, the protection and fulﬁlment of human rights as a form of state responsibility for the fulﬁlment of people's livelihood. www.walhi.or.id
Indonesian Government Ofﬁcial Press Release 30 Oct 2019.