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Indonesia warned of pollution peril JAKARTA - Acid rain, hazardous dumping of industrial, fecal waste and other pollutants are having an alarming impact on Indonesia's environment and population, the World Bank reports.
In its first environmental report on Indonesia, the World Bank said Tuesday that people were paying "a high price in human health and environmental degradation.
A third of the children are at risk of serious damage to brains, lungs and digestive systems from lead poisoning because most vehicles in the country outside Jakarta still use leaded fuel, according to the bank's Indonesia Environment Monitor 2003.
Indonesia has the highest number of typhoid cases in Asia and has been plagued by repeated epidemics of gastrointestinal infections, amid high levels of pollution in drinking water, the report said.
More than 90 percent of household and industrial garbage is discarded in largely uncontrolled dumps. and toxic material in the garbage seeps into the groundwater.
Rivers and canals are clogged with rubbish, polluting the water that many Indonesians must drink. Fecal contamination is rampant because human waste goes directly into waterways.
Choking smoke from annual forest-clearing fires, mainly on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, has caused respiratory problems in hundreds of thousands of people. Garbage is often burned, also, adding to the air pollution.
Pollution levels are "so badly neglected in Indonesia that it is affecting the health and lives of all people here," said Tom Walton, an environmental adviser to the World Bank.
"A lack of political will to enforce environmental law, entrenched corruption and lack of understanding in pollution management are blocking efforts to overcome the problems," Walton said.
The World Bank pointed to the banning of leaded gasoline in the capital, Jakarta, by mid-2001 as a success in curbing pollution. But it said that a nationwide lead phasing-out deadline of January was not met and that polluting fuels were not expected to be eradicated before at least 2005.
Acid rain is on the rise, destroying crops, especially in Java and Sumatra, where factories and power plants are concentrated. Toxic waste from mining, including mercury-laced soil, is often dumped into rivers and the sea, killing marine life.
Forty percent of the country's sprawling coral reefs are "seriously damaged" because of excessive fishing and pollution, the report said. Official neglect harms entire nation, World Bank study finds.



Posted in Environment @ 25 June 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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