Friday, October 11, 2013

Blog #5: Coal Pollution in Indonesia

For the past year, residents living in Kampung Muara Bahari in the northern part of the city of Jakara in Indonesia have felt the damaging effects of the Nusantara Port activities.The coal unloaded at the port has created thick clouds of black smoke that blankets the trees and creates a heavy dust on the floors, according to the head of the neighborhood unit in Muara Bahari. The residents living outside of the port have been experiencing respiratory and eyesight problems and some cases of respiratory infection have required hospitalization. The residents of Muara Bahari complained to the Indonesia Port Corporation around three months ago, so the IPC built a wall between the village and the port to hide what was going on on the other side. According to the IPC's spokesperson, Sofyan Gumelar, all coal unloading activities have followed the best standard practices. Gumelar goes on to say that the IPC will investigation and communicate with the shipping company responsible for the air pollution. The IPC knows the coal comes from a state-owned coal mining company called PT Bukit Asam from South Sumatra and want to take measures to ensure that the coal dust from the port no longer effects the village of Muara Bahari.

Jakarta is the largest city in Indonesia and the thirteenth most populated in the world. The Bering Sea provides a profitable shipping port, but this appears to be yet another example of profit having a higher value than health and environment. The IPC spokesperson's words about IPC attempting to amend the environmental destruction may hold some merit, but based on their past solution of building a wall between the Nusantara Port and the village, the statement may be nothing but smoke and mirrors. The residents of Muara Bahari are valid in their requests of the port to monitor coal-trade activities. Living among thick coal dust clouds that fill up human lungs and cover the trees is detrimental obviously physiologically but also psychologically. The IPC will probably do something about the Nusantara Port pollution, but it's highly likely that the problem will return within a year or two and the Muara Bahari residents will once again be writing formal complaints.

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