• Senin, 02 Oktober 2023

Walhi: Coal Stockpile Is Harming Society Must Be Closed, Lampung Government Asked Firmly

Senin, 29 Mei 2023 - 08.19 WIB

Coal Stockpile in South Lampung. Photo: Kupastuntas.co

Kupastuntas.co, Bandar Lampung - The existence of coal stockpile near settlements threatens the health of the surrounding community in the form of respiratory and lung diseases. The Forum for the Environment (Walhi) recommends closing coal stockpiles which are detrimental to many people.

Yusuf, a resident of Way Lunik Village, Panjang District, Bandar Lampung, said that there are many negative impacts caused by the presence of coal stockpile, especially on health and the environment. He hopes that the coal stockpile in Way Lunik is currently closed.

"Many residents have complained about coal dust from the stockpile flying into the settlement. Our community leader (RT) has reported it to Commission III DPRD Bandar Lampung, there was no response. Residents also cannot enter there (the stockpile company) because it is obstructed," said Yusuf when public discussion with the theme 'Rise of Coal Stockpile in Lampung and Threats to Public Health and the Environment' which was held at the Taman Kopi Cafe, Way Halim, Bandar Lampung, last Friday (26/5/2023).

Yusuf revealed that the installation of nets to anticipate the impact of dust from the coal stockpile does not have a maximum function and effect. Because coal dust still enters people's homes.

"So if possible, just close it if it only makes residents nervous, then only prioritizes certain groups. Meanwhile, the community feels the impact," he said.

Yusuf said that if the presence of a coal stockpile does not cause dust pollution, local residents will not have a problem with it even though they do not have a permit. As long as it does not disturb or even threaten public health.

Agus, another resident questioned the performance of related parties involved in supervising the coal stockpile, both from the Environment Agency (DLH) and the Bandar Lampung regional people's representative council (DPRD).

"DLH and DPRD must have a commitment to overcome the problems caused by the existence of this coal stockpile. If this is not possible, the residents will take action," he said.

Agus said, according to the regulations, coal stockpiling is at least 1 kilometer from residential areas. But the reality is now even in the middle of a residential area.

"This is in the middle of a residential area where residents are permitted, and why until today has no action been taken by DLH and DPRD. This makes me concerned. There must be concrete steps to overcome this problem," he said.

Edi Santoso, a representative from the Lampung Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) asked the regional government to respond quickly to the impacts caused by coal stockpiles that threaten people's health and the environment.

"Because the dust generated from coal stockpile can have a negative impact on the environment and public health. Moreover, if the presence of coal stockpile is very close to residential areas. High levels of dust in the community environment can cause lung disease," he said.

The disease arises because residents often breathe air polluted by coal dust for a long time. In addition, coal stockpiling activities in the form of mountains will reduce air quality by increasing ambient air dust.

"I want to wait for the victim first and then take action. Effectively, when there are complaints from the public, they must be followed up immediately," he said.

He explained, coal stockpiles began to bloom in Lampung Province, especially Bandar Lampung and South Lampung in mid-2022. That year was the year when the government began to reopen the coal export spigot.

"Currently there are at least 11 operating coal stockpile points in Bandar Lampung spread across five sub-districts and four sub-districts. Then there are eight stockpile locations in South Lampung Regency spread across three villages and two sub-districts," he explained.

Edi explained, the coal that entered Lampung came from the South Sumatra region, and would be sent to Java via the Panjang Port. Ironically, coal shipments last 24 hours.

He continued, almost all coal stockpile activities in Lampung did not use plinths, roofs and dust safety nets. In addition, there is no management or storage of coal waste.

"Referring to Regulation of the Minister of Environment and Forestry Number 04 of 2021, coal stockpile is a type of business that is required to have Environmental Management and Environmental Monitoring Efforts (UKL-UPL). So, the coal stockpile that has been operating in Lampung should already have UKL-UPL and environmental permits," he explained.

Lecturer at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Unila, Diky Hidayat, who was present at the discussion, said that the issue of coal stockpile is an old phenomenon. He said, in 1980 when the initial coal stockpile in Lampung was built it had no impact because the environmental conditions were still unfavorable.

"But in the 2000s when the climate started to turn hot, especially now that it is almost 30 degrees, the impact of coal dust will drift. Especially if it is located on the edge of a coastal beach, it will be easily exposed to sea breezes," he explained.

Diky reminded that coal dust is included in B3 waste, and its processing is not haphazard because it has a high risk so it must have an Amdal.

He said, the impact caused by the presence of coal dust on public health, including in the short term could cause ARI (Acute Respiratory Inspection). Meanwhile, for the long term, the worst condition is lung damage.

"Especially now that we are entering the dry season, the dust generated will get worse and will have a significant impact not only on health but also on the environment," he explained.

Head of the Bandar Lampung Environment Service (DLH), Budiman, said coal stockpiles have started to bloom since the end of 2022 in two places, namely Bandar Lampung and South Lampung.

"When we visited the field, there was a stockpile that was backing up a business that used coal fuel and had permission from the central government. But there was also a stockpile that was hoarding in nature so that it had an impact on the community," said Budiman.

However, he continued, local governments cannot prohibit people from trying and investing. But they must comply with the rules by making permits starting from the Statement of Environmental Management (SPPL) and Environmental Management Efforts and Environmental Monitoring Efforts (UKL-UPL) and Amdal.

"We are aware that several companies are causing unrest and harm to the community. We have checked directly there to see firsthand what the impacts are," he said.

He emphasized that he would give a letter of warning to companies that violated it, and if they were ignored, action would be taken. "I will not even give UKL-UPL recommendations if there is no environmental approval," he said.

He said he would study again who has the authority to revoke business licenses, because the municipal government's authority is only to provide recommendations.

Member of Commission III DPRD Bandar Lampung, Agus Djumadi, said that so far his party has received five complaints from the public regarding problems in the coal business.

“If there is a company that doesn't care about the community, we will step down and coordinate with related parties. Because if it is proven that they have committed a violation, the municipal government can provide recommendations for action to be taken and can even be closed because it does not benefit many people," he said. (*)

This news has been published in Kupas Tuntas daily newspaper, Monday 29 May 2023 edition with the title "Public Discussion of Coal Stockpile Rising in Lampung, Walhi: Detrimental to Many Communities Must be Closed"