State Minister of the Environment Nabiel Makarim expressed on Monday disappointment with the findings of the 2002 environmental audit, which found that many companies had poor environmental management. “According to the 2002 audit, many companies have breached the Environmental Law in managing their surroundings and their waste,” he told reporters after a hearing with House of Representatives Commission VIII for the environment.
He declined to identify the companies, but said the government was considering imposing sanctions on companies that harm the environment. Nabiel said there had been a growing trend since the 1998 economic crisis for companies to pay less attention to protecting the environment. Nabiel said that many factories in Java no longer complied with the Environmental Law in managing their waste due to increased overall costs because of the prolonged economic crisis.
He said the government would publicly announce the results of the audit. “We’ll announce the audit’s result within the next month,” he said, adding that the public could decide to boycott products produced by polluting companies. The audit covered only 14 sugar and palm oil factories in Riau, Lampung and East Java. Based on the audit’s result, the government will rank the companies,depending on their performance in managing their waste. Companies complying with the law in managing their waste will be awarded gold and green environment labels while companies polluting the environment will be given red and black labels.
For the 2003 audit, the government will examine at least 60 forestry and agricultural companies in Surabaya (East Java), Semarang (Central Java), Yogyakarta, Bandung (West Java), Serang (Banten), Lampung, Palembang (South Sumatra), Jambi, Pekanbaru (Riau), Medan (North Sumatra), Pontianak (West Kalimantan), Banjarmasin (South Kalimantan) and Samarinda (East Kalimantan). Nabiel also said that his office had reached an agreement with the Supreme Court to set up special chambers in district courts in the next two years to try companies violating the Environmental Law. “Special chambers in district courts will first be established in Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan,” he said.