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Indonesia and several other countries in Southeast Asia have been chosen by those in developed countries to be their alternative destinations for their waste., Jakarta – Over the past few months, Indonesia has repeatedly shown its objection toward becoming a dumping ground for foreign trash containing hazardous and toxic waste (B3 waste).

The Indonesian authorities who have thoroughly been checking containers full of foreign rubbish arriving at several seaports of the country have been sending the imported waste back to the countries of origin, including the United States and France.

This time, the firm stance was shown by the country’s related authorities handling eight containers comprising 210 tons of waste shipped from Brisbane’s seaport in Queensland, Australia, to Surabaya’s Tanjung Perak Port.

The authorities of Tanjung Perak Port’s Customs and Excise Office found that the containers were not just loaded with waste paper but also with a variety of household waste, such as used cans, plastic bottles, used engine oil packaging, and diapers.

The imported waste paper is often used as a raw material for industries. However, as revealed by Head of Tanjung Perak Port’s Customs and Excise Office, Basuki Suryanto, on Tuesday, the rubbish found in the eight containers might have contained B3 materials.

“This has been followed up with a physical examination by those from the Customs and Excise Office’s law enforcement unit,” he said.

Referring to this finding, the Environment and Forestry Ministry has recommended that this imported waste from Australia be shipped back to the country.

“Based on the ministry’s recommendation, we give the importer 90 days to send these eight containers of waste paper and other domestic rubbish back to Australia,” Suryanto said, adding that this was the second finding in Surabaya.

The first finding was recorded in early June in which waste from the United States of America evidently contained B3 materials. As a result, it was shipped back to its country of origin.

“The authorities imposing sanctions on importers belong to the Environment and Forestry Ministry,” he said.

Many municipalities and waste companies in developed countries, including Australia and the USA, have been struggling to find alternatives after China refused to be a dumping ground for foreign rubbish by banning imported waste since early 2018.

Cheryl Katz revealed in her article published in the Yale Environment 360 (2019) that “over the coming decades, as many as 111 million tons of plastic will have to find a new place to be processed or otherwise disposed of as a result of China’s ban”.

Indonesia and several other countries in Southeast Asia have been chosen by those in developed countries to be their alternative destinations for their waste.

Thus, imported waste has become a serious global challenge. Considering the importance of this issue, environmentalists had even raised the issue of imported plastic waste on the sidelines of the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand.

Greenpeace, for instance, launched a petition, titled “No Space for Waste”, by urging the ASEAN leaders to “end plastic waste crisis”.

As published on its official website, this global environment watchdog appealed to all ASEAN member states to “declare an immediate ban on all imports of plastic waste and e-waste, even those meant for recycling, and ensure all ASEAN countries ratify the Basel Ban Amendment”.

Instead of specifically responding to the issue of imported plastic waste, the ASEAN leaders adopted the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in the ASEAN region on June 22.

Apart from the absence of the ASEAN leaders’ specific responses on imported waste at their recent summit in Bangkok, Indonesia has shown its firm stance on banning foreign waste.

Indonesia’s firm stance is not merely represented by the authorities in Surabaya but it is also shown by the Batam city government, which has recently banned imported plastic waste from being used as raw materials for industries in the coastal city.

The firm stance on banning imported plastic waste was taken by strictly implementing waste management regulations for environmental protection, Head of the Batam City Government’s Environmental Management Division IP said.

Related news: Batam city government bans use of imported plastic waste

“We reject those offering imported raw materials,” IP affirmed, adding that the Indonesian Customs and Excise officers had recently come across 65 containers of imported plastic waste. Drums, pipes, and buckets were among the plastic goods found loaded inside the containers, which were sent to Batuampar Port.

The importers of plastic waste contended that the containers were filled with raw materials for industries operating in Batam, he remarked.

Indonesia’s message is clear: It does not want to become the dumping ground for foreign rubbish, particularly waste containing B3 materials, which will. (riz)

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Industry Minister, Airlangga Hartarto., Jakarta – Indonesia and Singapore have agreed to follow up on the cooperation to develop the Nongsa Digital Park and Kendal Industrial Zone that is projected to intensify bilateral cooperation between the neighboring nations.

“Several cooperation agreements inked by the two countries are in the economic sector, such as in investment, trade, digital economic, and vocational education. This is a follow up of an agreement during last year’s Leaders Retreat,” Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto noted in a statement here on Wednesday (9/10/2019).

At the 2019 Annual Leaders Meeting in Singapore on Tuesday, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong discussed the cooperation. Jokowi was accompanied by Hartarto during the meeting.

Hartarto noted that the Indonesian government praised Singapore’s investment in the Kendal Industrial Zone (KIK), Central Java’s largest industrial zone and emblematic of the bilateral cooperation between Indonesia and Singapore.

“The integrated zone was inaugurated by Mr President Jokowi and Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loon in 2016,” Hartarto remarked.

The KIK development is conducted in three stages on a land totaling 2,700 hectares. KIK is an integrated industrial zone supported by seaport, fashion city, and residential areas.

“Several light industries have already been operating. Moreover, we will encourage the development of the components, fashion, footwear, and garment industries,” the minister stated.

KIK has been expedited to become a labor-intensive and export-oriented industrial zone.

As of September 2019, investment in KIK was valued at Rp11.4 trillion, with 59 tenants from Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea, among others.

“Two Chinese industries were also relocated there. This can strengthen the domestic industrial structure. It has created over 6,950 jobs,” Hartarto stated.

The government has planned to upgrade the status of KIK into a special economic zone (KEK) to be able to attract investment, reaching Rp70 trillion, within the next five years.

Until 2024, KEK Kendal is expected to exports goods worth US$500 million annually and substitute imports up to $250 million yearly.

Furthermore, Singapore and Indonesia have agreed to the development of Nongsa Digital Park (NDP) in Batam to serve as a base to create industrialists engaged in digital businesses, such as startup, web, application, digital programs, films, and animation.

The project is being coordinated by PT Kinema Systrans Multimedia with cooperation of Infinite Studios.

As of August 2019, the number of tenants and startups in NDP had reached 50 companies, including startups from Singapore, specifically Glints, a talent recruitment start-up, and Fintech firm LiquidPay. (spg)

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Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi., Bogor – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) will visit Singapore on Tuesday (8/10/2019), to attend the annual leaders’ retreat of both countries, stated Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi at Bogor Presidential Palace in West Java Monday. “The leaders’ retreat being conducted with Singapore is aimed at discussing the progress both countries made on cooperation as well as to evaluate them after one year has passed,” Marsudi said.

She mentioned the progress of cooperation on last year’s Kendal Industrial Park and partnership in Batam as the two matters which will be discussed.

Speaking on the investment sector, Marsudi highlighted vocational education which is significant for both Indonesia and Singapore.

“We expect to also discuss vocational education since Indonesia and Singapore were already signed several agreements on this sector,” she stated.

Besides, there are the matters of partnership progress, investments, and human capital development that have been planned to be discussed, Marsudi added, it is possible for the leaders to talk about other issues as such counterterrorism.

However, she refused to talk more about the meeting’s details.

“I will not reveal more details on it because the further information will be delivered after tomorrow’s meeting,” she remarked.

Last year, the meeting of leaders retreat took place in Bali in October. (asm)

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Jakarta Governor, Anies Baswedan., Jakarta – Governor of Jakarta Anies Baswedan has abandoned his planned trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, to attend the C40 Summit, based on the current inconducive situation in the capital city following students’ protests against several controversial bills.

“No. It was canceled taking into account the current situation in Jakarta,” Baswedan remarked at the provincial parliament complex here on Thursday (3/10/2019).

Baswedan was scheduled to attend the world’s cities summit to convey environmental programs.

“In fact, Jakarta needs to attend the summit to convey its programs as part of the global society. The world is looking at us. They saw problems on the environment, air quality, and other issues,” he added.

However, Baswedan has decided to cancel the trip and remain in Jakarta based on the unstable situation in the capital city.

C40 World Mayors Summit is due to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, on October 10-11.

During the forum, Jakarta is expected to respond to questions on environmental issues in the city and reiterated its commitment to mitigating the impacts of climate change to create a developed city that is comfortable for its citizens.

Baswedan is scheduled to serve as a keynote speaker during a discussion session and sign the Clean Air Cities Declaration along with the mayors of Paris, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Delhi, and Portland.

The Jakarta governor and 19 other leaders of world cities will organize a discussion with former US vice president Al Gore and hold several bilateral meetings to establish sister cities.

Thousands of students staged protests in several cities as a mark of rejection against some controversial bills, including the draft bill on criminal code and the KPK law.

In Jakarta, the demonstrations, which often turned violent, have damaged public facilities and caused heavy traffic jams on several main streets. (rpg)

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