Cablegate: Indonesia Esth Highlights: August-September

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-- Jakarta Ranks Poorly in Environmental Awards
-- 80 Percent of Indonesian Plastic Become Hazardous Waste
-- Palm Oil Plantation Expansion
-- Mangrove Conservation Meeting in Probolinggo (East Java)
-- Car Free Day in Surabaya
-- Police Uncover Scaly Anteater Trade Syndicate
-- Indonesia takes Second in the Second International Astronomy and
Astrophysics Olympiad
-- Indonesia Faces Taxonomist Crisis
-- Bio-Ethanol from Cassava in East Java
-- Waste Management: Carbon Credits for Bekasi
-- Cases of Tropical Diseases in Indonesia Continue to Rise
-- Youth Disaster Care Movement
-- Malnutrition in East Java
-- Indonesia has the Second Highest Rate of Blindness


Jakarta Ranks Poorly in Environmental Awards
1. On July 31, Jakarta's State Minister of Environment Rachmat
Witoelar, announced the results of the 2008 Environmental Company
Performance Evaluation Award. Out of 514 companies reviewed, 30
percent received the lowest rating, 50 percent the average rating,
and only 10 percent received an adequate rating. Only one company,
Bumi Wayang Windu Magma Nusantara Ltd., a geothermal power plant,
received the gold award. The government will sue 13 companies
because of their lack of effort to improve their performance since
last year.

80 Percent of Indonesian Plastic Becomes Hazardous Waste
2. During the International Conference on Advanced and Sustainable
Polymers on August 5 in Bandung, Lies A. Wisojodharmo from the
Center for Material Technology of the Indonesian Institute of
Sciences (LIPI), stated that production of plastic and
plastic-material products in Indonesia exceeded two million tons in
2008. Around 952,000 tons of that amount is plastic for packaging.
Lies added that 80 percent of plastic production had the potential
to become hazardous waste due to low absorption, limited recycling
and bad waste management.

Palm Oil Plantation Expansion
3. High demand for crude palm oil (CPO) has led to the expansion of
palm oil plantations through land clearing, one of the main
contributors to carbon emissions in Indonesia. On August 27,
Director General for Plantation of Ministry of Agriculture Achmad
Manggabarani said he could not confirm the status of the new land
conversions because province and district authorities issue permits,
and the Central Government lacks control. The Ministry has asked
local governments not to issue permits in peat lands until
regulations on peat land use are developed.

Mangrove Conservation Meeting in Probolinggo (East Java)
--------------------------------------------- ---
4. The Probolinggo Department of Maritime and Fishery held a
meeting with 20 representatives from the fishing community on August
8 to discuss mangrove conservation. This followed the destruction
of 126 hectares of a 504-hectare mangrove forest in the area due to
the construction of a housing complex and the opening of a new
fishpond. The meeting educated the 20 representatives about planting
mangrove trees and protecting the ecosystem.

Car Free Day in Surabaya
5. Starting August 24, and every Sunday thereafter from six in the
morning to noon, Surabaya will close its main road Darmo Street to
observe a "car free day". This will allow people to use the street
for sports such as bike riding and cut down on pollution.
Transportation Department records show that there are currently
219,000 cars and 930,000 motorcycles in Surabaya with an annual
growth rate of 9 percent for cars and 23 percent for motorcycles.

Police Uncover Scaly Anteater Trade Syndicate
--------------------------------------------- -

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6. On July 31, the Police Chief of South Sumatera, Inspector
General Ito Sumardi, announced that a police team had uncovered a
crime syndicate involved in the illegal international trade of a
protected animal, the Scaly Anteater or Manis Javanica. The
syndicate was posing as a fish processing and packing facility to
hide its illegal activities of selling Anteater meat and skin.


Indonesia takes Second in the International Astronomy and
Astrophysics Olympiad
--------------------------------------------- ----
7. During the Second International Astronomy and Astrophysics
Olympiad (IOAA) from August 19-28 in Bandung, Indonesia, the
Indonesia team placed second after India. The IOAA is an annual
Olympiad in astronomy and astrophysics for senior high school
students. Around 24 countries participated.

Indonesia Faces Taxonomist Crisis
8. During his inauguration ceremony on August 21, in Jakarta,
Chairman of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) Prof. Dr.
Umar Anggara Jenie, said that Indonesia faces a taxonomist crisis.
Indonesia, because of its richness in plant and animal biodiversity,
continually collects new specimens requiring classification. The
Zoology Museum in Bogor, West Java contains a 2 million-herbarium
specimen collection, the third largest in the world, with only 19
taxonomists on its staff. LIPI has only 100 taxonomists and has
difficulty with recruiting and upgrading educational expertise.
Lack of expertise risks samples of specimens going to foreign
parties, he said.

Bio-Ethanol from Cassava in East Java
9. Sidoarjo's City government signed an MOU with the Institute of
Technology Surabaya (ITS) on August 13 regarding production of
bio-ethanol fuel from cassava. The agreement aims to find an
alternative fuel in the wake of shortages and the high price of
kerosene. ITS' research found that 1 liter of bio-ethanol, made
from 6.5 kilogram of cassava, would generate the same output as 3
liters of kerosene. Sidoarjo will conduct bio-ethanol trials in 18
districts. The Sidoarjo government has also signed an agreement
with Manunggal Sejahtera Cooperative for the production of
bio-ethanol stoves. ITS in cooperation with the Finance Department
[Ministry of Finance?] will hold an international seminar on
bio-ethanol in November, inviting universities in Indonesia,
businesses, government officials, and Asian Development Bank

Waste Management: Carbon Credits for Bekasi
10. Head of the Bekasi Environment Office (30km east of Jakarta)
Dudy Setiabhudi, announced on August 5 that Bekasi City
Administration was expecting to get a carbon credit payment by 2009
for using a methane gas burner to destroy the city's waste. The
Bekasi City Administration is cooperating with the Japanese company
PT Gikoko Kogyo Indonesia in installing and facilitating methane gas
management in Sumur Batu dumping area. The area has the potential
to earn 4.2 billion rupiah (about a half million dollars) a year in
carbon credits. The money will go to local programs and adding more
waste collecting facilities. Sumur Batu Dumping Area is the first
waste management operation on Java to have a methane gas.


Cases of Tropical Diseases Continue to Rise
11. The spread of neglected tropical diseases in Indonesia such as
dengue, leprosy and filariasis have shown little decline. According
to Ministry of Health data, there were 10,239 cases of filariasis in
2005, up from 4,472 in 2000. There were 19,695 cases of leprosy in
2005, up from 4,472 in 2000. However, the annual malaria incidence
(AMI) for outside Java-Bali was 18.94 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2005,
down from 31.09 per 1,000 in 2000 due to increased use of effective
malaria prevention intervention such as long-lasting
insectivcide-treated bednets, and early diagnosis and prompt
treatment. According to Nyoman Kandun, Director General for
Diseases Control and Environmental Health, the overall increase is
due to increased active surveillance by health officers. "The

JAKARTA 00001945 003 OF 003

diseases cannot be reduced to zero. We can only repress that figure
by committing to health efforts," he added. The human-to-human
infectious diseases that have vaccines are easier to eliminate than
the vector-borne diseases such as dengue, filariasis and malaria
spread by mosquitoes. Other factors that prevent a reduction in
tropical diseases include low education, poverty, poor sanitation
and drainage infrastructure, environmental degradation as well as
lack of access to quality health care.

Youth Disaster Care Movement
12. On August 19, The Minister of Health Siti Fadilah Supari,
officially installed 5,000 students from health facilities, youth
organizations, and Islamic boarding schools, as part of a disaster
preparedness movement for greater Surabaya. The members train to
understand basic procedures for handling disasters and administering
first aid to disaster victims. Previously, the health department in
cooperation with University of Indonesia held an International
Training Consortium on Disaster Risk Reduction in Hasanuddin
University (Makassar) and Airlangga University (Surabaya).

Malnutrition in East Java
13. East Java's Health Department recorded 5,293 malnutrition
cases, predominantly in the city of Pamekasan on the island of
Madura. In Surabaya, roughly eight percent of 77,000 children under
five are suffering from malnutrition. The Health Department also
found that 11 percent of elementary school students lack iodine.
One finds malnutrition cases in Surabaya not only in poor families
but also among wealthier families due to a lack of nutritional

Indonesia has the Second Highest Rate of Blindness
--------------------------------------------- -----
14. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that Indonesia
ranks the second highest in the world for blindness, afflicting
around 3.5 million people or 1.47 percent of all Indonesians.
Cataracts cause 60-70 percent of the blindness, and there are
approximately 210,000 new cases of cataracts per year in Indonesia.
On August 3, Minister of Health Siti Fadilah Supari said that the
government could not handle the large volume of cataract cases alone
and needs the help of local volunteers. The Minister opened a
social program movement called MATAHATI-Peduli Kesehatan Mata (Eye
Health Care). The movement is in cooperation with several private
businesses and doctors, and with the support of hospitals and the
Indonesia ophthalmologist association. The program is targeting to
operate, free of charge, on 5,000 cataract patients by 2008, a
surgery that usually costs 3-7 million rupiah ($313-$729).


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