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Provinces to combine efforts to save major rivers JAKARTA - The Jakarta, Banten and West Java administrations have agreed to jointly rehabilitate the three big rivers that are the provinces' main sources of clean water. The Jakarta administration will be responsible for restoring the Ciliwung River, Banten province will handle the Cisadane River, while West Java will deal with Citarum River. The Jakarta Environment Management Board (BPLHD) said Tuesday that each province would be responsible for the quality and quantity of water flowing through the rivers.

"By doing this, we can minimize the disparity in the water supply between the rainy and dry seasons," the board's pollution control unit head, Junani Kartawiria, said. The agreement was reached during a meeting last week initiated by the State Environment Ministry, which was also attended by officials from the Home and Forestry Ministries. Junan said the three administrations would reduce water run-off in the rainy season by saving it in water catchment facilities both upstream and downstream. "It is a big project to prevent a water crisis in the three provinces in the future and to reduce pollution in the bay," she said.

The ambition plan is expected to be launched in January after the governors of the three provinces sign a memorandum of understanding on Jakarta Bay by the year's end. Junani said the State Environment Ministry was still formulating the project's budget. When asked if the Jakarta administration would allocate funds to the project, Junani said it might consider being an alternative financial source. "We are still discussing it but Jakarta might be ready to help with finances as long as the project has a positive result for the city," she said.

Jakarta, which often experiences floods in the rainy season and water crises in dry periods, has long blamed many of its water problems on West Java and Banten. The two provinces are the starting points for the 13 rivers that run through Jakarta. The Ciliwung River, for example, runs from South Bogor to North Jakarta and starts in Puncak, where construction work has had an adverse effect on the quality of the river's water.

Bogor residents still use water from the Ciliwung River for their daily needs, but by the time water reaches Jakarta, it has been heavily polluted with household and factory waste. The BPLHD says that Jakarta's 13 rivers are rated at 31 on the water pollution index, far above the "tolerable" level of 10. It said that around 75 percent of pollution in the bay came from household and laundry activities that saw waste products being dumped in the rivers.

Environmentalists have also expressed concern that the pollution is damaging coral reefs and endangering wildlife, such as turtles, that lives in the bay. The Jakarta Maritime and Fishery Affairs Agency said green mussels caught in Jakarta Bay contain critical level of heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium and phenol.



Posted in Environment @ 08 August 2006 14:40 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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