Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Monday, April 30, 2007

One killed, four missing after landslide in West Sulawesi

MAKASSAR, South Sulawesi (Antara): Landslide in Mamuju regency, West Sulawesi killed at least one resident and caused four other missing, following heavy rains poured the area.

The incident occurred on Saturday in the slope of Mt. Betteng Batu in a remote village of Sinyonyoi, Kaluku district some 50 kilometer of provincial capital of Mamuju, Antara news agency reported Monday.

But the death body was just found on Sunday in a river near his house, which was hit by the landslide.

The casualty is Pauli, 30, while the four missing people are Samaruddin, 20, Rizal, 19, P. Rambo, 40, and Udin, 22.

The landslide caused dozens of people preferred to stay in tents prepared by the local administration, fearing of other landslides.

Landslides had killed hundreds of people across the country since the start of this year rainy season.

W Sumatra to receive 6,000 tons of imported rice in May

Padang, W Sumatra Province (ANTARA News) - A total of 6,000 tons of rice imported from Vietnam is expected to arrive in West Sumatra in May 2007.

The imported rice would add the rice stock of the province and would be distributed to among others the poor and disaster`s victims, Head of the Provincial Logistic Board (Bulog) of West Sumatra Anton Samawi said here on Monday.

Up to April 2007, the local Bulog warehouse kept a total of 9,000 tons of rice, which 3,000 tons of them would be allocated for the poor monthly.

"The imported rice will be kept as a stock, and will not be sold to the general public," he said.

To deal with a rice shortage, the Indonesian government has set a target of producing 58.1 million tons of (unhusked) rice this year, and set itself to import another one million tons annually to assure the availability of stocks.

Based on the trade minister`s decree no. 222/M-DAG/3/2007, rice imports have been conducted in the country`s cities such as Jakarta, Batam, and Makassar (South Sulawesi), Kupang (East Nusa Tenggara) and Manado (North Sulawesi), to meet domestic consumption.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Norways to contribute US$500,000 to RI for UNFCC prepatory meeting

New York (ANTARA News) - The Norwegian government will contribute US$500,000 to Indonesia for the preparatory meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCC) in West Java`s town of Bogor in October, Indonesian Ambassador to Norway Retno L. Marsudi said here.

The Norwegian government made the commitment to providing Indonesia with 500 thousand dollars for the UNFCC preparatory meeting when Indonesian Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar was visiting Oslo on April 26-27, 2007, the ambassador said.

During his visit to Oslo, Witoelar met with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, Environment Minister Helen Oddveig and Minister for Development Cooperation Erik Solheim.

Retno said that the Norwegian assistance would be provided as a follow up to the results of Norwegain Prime Minister Stoltenberg`s visit to Jakarta on March 28-30, 2007.

During his visit to Jakarta, Stoltenberg and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries on energy and climate change.

On the occasion, Stoltenberg said the cooperation on climate change was an important part of Indonesia-Norway`s bilateral ties.

According to the ambassador, when Witoelar visited Oslo, Stoltenberg indicated he would attend the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change to be held in Bali next December.

"The prime minister said he had plan to attend the convention," Retno who accompanied the minister during his meetings with Norwegian state officials, said.

At a meeting with the prime minister, the two sides agreed to discuss later concrete projects the two countries would be doing in connection with eco-friendly housing as suggested by the Kyoto protocol in 1997.

The technical teams of the two nations - Indonesia is represented by two special staffers and one expert staff of the minister - held talks to discuss the project on Friday.

The projects will be funded by private sectors from Norway.

Flood inundates at least 21,790 houses in Bandung

JAKARTA (Antara): Flood in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung and its surroundings has inundated more than 21,790 houses and affected more than 43,200 residents, report says.

Mumuh Muna'im of the West Java Disaster Mitigation Agency said Sunday that the flood hit 16 subdistricts and villages in seven districts in the southern part of the city.

He said that at least one person went missing after he was carried away by the water.

The flood, which has hit the city since Friday, was caused by the overflow of Citarum and other small rivers due following heavy rains pouring those areas.

Antara news agency reported that water level reached between 50 centimeters to two meters.

Government agencies, political parties and non-governmental organizations began erecting tents to accommodate contributions for flood victims.

RI calls on U.S., China, India to join next global climate treaty

The Jakarta Post

COPENHAGEN (AP): Big polluter nations such as the United States, China and India should sign on to the next global climate treaty that will replace the Kyoto accord on greenhouse gas emissions, Indonesia's environment minister said Tuesday.

"I don't see how they cannot join," Rachmat Witoelar said during an environmental conference in Copenhagen. "The most important thing is whether these countries are aware that there is a danger posed by climate change."

His Danish counterpart, Connie Hedegaard, who was hosting the two-day conference of European and Asian environmental officials, concurred.

"It is a European priority to get as many countries and contributors on board as possible," Hedegaard said. "Including of course China and India."

She said she hoped delegates would back Denmark's efforts to achieve a new climate treaty at a U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009.

Witoelar called that goal "realistic," adding that action was needed soon. "We cannot quarrel while the boat is capsizing."

The Kyoto Protocol, a U.N. treaty which expires in 2012, requires 35 industrial nations to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases collectively by 5 percent from 1990 levels.

The U.S, which is responsible for about one-quarter of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, has rejected Kyoto, saying it would hurt its economy. It also objects that the protocol allows exemptions for rapidly industrializing economies like China andIndia.

China, the world's biggest producer and user of coal, is expected to overtake the U.S. as the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter within the next several years.

Witoelar said Indonesia was already seeing the effect of climate change in devastating droughts and flooding. He declined to say whether the country would agree to emissions cuts under a new climate treaty, but said Indonesia would cut down on carbondioxide emissions by halting uncontrolled land-clearing fires that routinely send a blanket of choking haze to neighboring countries.

"I'm aware of statistics that we are emitting CO2 because of forest fires. So we'll stop the forest fires," he said. "It's as easy as that."

Indonesia takes on illegal logging

Cardonpositive.com, Saturday, 28 April 2007

Three Indonesian provinces have committed to measures to limit logging in their vast tropical rainforests and help the growing international battle against deforestation.

Ten percent of the world’s tropical rainforest lies in Indonesia, much of that in the provinces of Aceh in the West of the archipelago and Papua and West Papua in the East.

Their provincial governors have agreed at a World Bank initiated meeting that they would clamp down on illegal logging and take steps toward a sustainable forestry industry.

Aceh will impose a moratorium on all logging while a review of the forestry industry was carried out. Papua will revoke all licences of logging companies that cannot prove their operations contribute to sustainable forest management.

The recruitment of thousands more forest rangers and the use of helicopters will be part of the provinces’ response.

"We are determined to implement environmentally friendly policies, sustainable development and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions," Reuters reports the governors saying.

Environmental groups have estimated that 80 per cent of timber sourced from Indonesia is illegally logged in a $US4 billion annual trade that wipes out 2 million hectares of tropical forest every year.

Some environmentalists express scepticism about developing countries’ stated commitments to stop illegal logging. They say they have failed in the past in places like Indonesia where a vast and poor population is spread over thousands of islands, making law enforcement very difficult.

Indonesia is one of a number of developing countries campaigning for rich countries to pay for protecting their forests, which are vitally important on a global scale as carbon dioxide sinks.

Australia, anxious to court its near-neighbour politically and economically, recently committed $160 million to kick-start an international initiative to stop deforestation. Most of the Australian money would be spent in Indonesia.

Reuters, Environmental News Service, Environmental Investigation Agency 27/4/07

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Malaysian investor wants to invest in CPO production in S Sumatra

Palembang, S Sumatra (ANTARA News) - HDZ Biodiesel Corporation Sdn Bhd of Malaysia wished to invest US$50 million to US$60 million in oil palm plantations in South Sumatra, a Malaysian official said.

The wish was conveyed in a meeting between Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia Dato Zainal Abidin Zain and HDZ Biodiesel Corporation Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Seri Azumi Muhammad, and South Sumatra administration officials including administration secretary Musyrif Suardi and administration assistant for economic, financial and development affairs Budi Rahardjo here Friday.

Datuk Seri Azumi said his company believed that its investment in crude palm oil production in the province would be successful as the political life in Indonesia in general and in South Sumatra in particular is stable.

The location for a CPO factory had not been determined although the Malaysian ambassador and the investor company had already visited Bengkulu and Palembang.

Meanwhile, Musyrif said South Sumatra had allocated 3.2 million ha land for plantations and other horticultural crops, 2.2 million ha of which had already been planted with rubber, oil palm, coffee, and horticultural crops since 2004.

Poaching threatens Sumatran tigers

Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan

Local and foreign researchers have warned that the Sumatran tiger may become extinct within the next 10 years due to rampant poaching and illegal trade.

According to a survey by TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, conducted in 22 cities across seven Indonesian provinces in 2006, nearly every antique shop, traditional medicine counter and animal market sold souvenirs, jewelry and potions made from parts of the endangered animal.

TRAFFIC regional program officer, Chris R. Shepherd, said they had found 42 claws, 37 fangs, two whiskers, whole tiger pelts or pieces, and 32 kilograms of tiger bones.

He said most of the traders claimed they acquired the tiger parts from Aceh.

He added that many poachers had turned the Gunung Leuser National Park in Aceh into a place to hunt Sumatran tigers.

"Every year some 52 Sumatran tigers are poached for their parts from various national parks in Sumatra, including the Leuser Ecosystem Zone, to meet the demands of the overseas market," Shepherd said at a recent workshop on Eliminating Sumatran Tiger Trade, organized jointly by the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA), North Sumatra Forestry Office and TRAFFIC Southeast Asia in Medan.

He said the poaching rate of Sumatran tigers was very high, raising fears that the species could become extinct over the next 10 years if concerted efforts were not made by law enforcement agencies.

"There are only about 400 Sumatran tigers living in the wild now. Their numbers will diminish in five to 10 years' time if poaching is not immediately stopped," he said. The 400 tigers are surviving in the national parks of Sumatra.

Leuser International Foundation (LIF) monitoring officer, Rudi H. Putra, estimated there were around 150 tigers left in the Leuser Ecosystem Zone (KEL). This figure was based on observation using camera traps in six KEL locations, encompassing Southeast Aceh and Aceh Tamiang regencies as well as Langkat regency in North Sumatra.

Rudi said LIF also carried out monthly routine field surveys in the entire KEL area.

He said the tiger population in Leuser area was declining each year due to poaching. "We estimate that there are around 10 tigers killed by poachers each year, most of which are sold in Medan and later traded overseas," said Rudi.

Rudi said that a stuffed Sumatran tiger could fetch Rp 50 million (US$5,500) locally and up to Rp 100 million in Medan.

"The price of a tiger pelt is around Rp 12 million, while its bones are sold for Rp 1 million a kilogram. These prices climb twice as high by the time they reach Medan," Rudi told The Jakarta Post.

Shepherd said Medan was the only exit point for the illegal trade of Sumatran tigers to Malaysia, Singapore, China, Korea and Taiwan.

"The sale of Sumatran tigers and their organs overseas goes through Medan. They are usually exported by sea, especially through Tanjung Balai Port, while shipments via air and land are rare," he said. In July 2005, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia found 140 kilograms of Sumatran tiger bones and 24 skulls in Taiwan, which had been exported from Medan via Jakarta.

Shepherd said the illegal trade in Sumatran tigers was run by a syndicate involving local and overseas members.

He said it was likely security personnel were involved in the syndicate. "I think a number of security personnel are involved, but we have never found evidence to support this."

The head of the Natural Resources Conservation Center in North Sumatra, Djati Witjaksono Hadi, said his office had received information regarding the illegal trade of Sumatran tigers in Medan.

Djati said they would conduct operations in key locations in the trade of the animal.

"We all know where Sumatran tigers are traded in Medan," he said.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Bekasi to trade CO2 reductions

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Bekasi municipality is hoping to generate funds through the trade of carbon by offering the ten-hectare Sumur Batu sanitary landfill site in Bantar Gebang to investors.

The head of the city's environmental agency, Dudi Setiabudi, said the Sumur Batu landfill currently handles 1,600 cubic meters of solid waste per day and produces 66,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually.

"We are now in the process of tendering the project to investors who are interested in developing it as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project," Dudi said.

Dudi visited the office of the Designated National Authority (DNA) on Wednesday to discuss the planned project, which will destroy methane gas generated at the landfill.

The DNA is a government body tasked with approving local DNA projects before they are submitted to the United Nation's Executive Board which has the final say on whether or not projects are viable.

Dudi said that several foreign companies from countries including Korea, Japan and France had expressed interest in the project.

"The initial investment needed to secure the required technology to process methane gas is over Rp 9 billion (approximately US$1 million) so we have to determine the winner through a tendering process," he said.

He said that based on a feasibility study conducted by the World Bank, the project could be extended for up to 21 years.

Dudi said that his administration had prepared all documents required to register the project with the DNA.

"We have discussed the plans with people living in close proximity to the planned project. They welcome the CDM idea because the project will mean landfill is managed better," he said.

The Bekasi administration is expected to register the project with the DNA in June.

The Sumur Batu landfill site, which is located near the 108-hectare Bantar Gebang landfill belonging to the Jakarta administration, is currently operated by the Bekasi Sanitation Agency.

However, Dudi said that residents living near the facility often complain about the poor waste management system which causes air and water pollution.

"We hope private investors can develop a waste management system that may reduce air and water pollution. The CDM project will benefit local people and provide extra income to the administration," he said.

The CDM is in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol, which encourages developing nations, including Indonesia, to develop projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Developers of projects receive a Certificate of Emission Reduction from the United Nations Executive Board, which specifies the amount of carbon that can be traded to rich nations.

A ton of CO2 reduction is currently valued at between US$5 and $10.

However, many predict that a ton of CO2 reduction may eventually reach up to $30.

Poultry farms to be relocated

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA: As part of the poultry industry's efforts to prevent the spread of avian influenza, the Central Jakarta municipality will relocate poultry farms in the area to a centralized market in East Jakarta.

"As stipulated in a letter from the Jakarta animal husbandry and fisheries agency, poultry owners should have relocated their farms by October 15. We are giving them six months to prepare for this," Central Jakarta mayor Muhayat said Thursday as quoted by news wire Antara.

Currently, there are at least 51 poultry farms in the municipality, as well as several others located in markets.

Muhayat said that poultry farms located in residential areas may contribute to the spread of the deadly H5N1 virus.

Jakarta issued a bylaw banning backyard farming earlier this year, but regulations on poultry farms had not been specified until recently.

The head of the veterinary division of Central Jakarta's animal husbandry office, Imam Suhardi, said that owners of poultry farms could either relocate to the designated area in East Jakarta or relocate to an area outside of Jakarta.

Moderate quake hits Yogyakarta

The Jakarta Post

YOGYAKARTA (JP): An earthquake measuring 5.2 at the Richter Scale hit Yogyakarta Thursday, but there is no immediate report of property damage and casualty.

Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, or BMG, reported from its website that the epicenter of the tremor at 9.52 a.m. was located in the sea some 80 kilometers southeast of Yogyakarta's town of Bantul.

Bantul was the worse town hit by a powerful earthquake on May 27, last year, killing more than 5,000 and destroyed thousands of houses, infrastructures, and other properties.

LIPI publishes book on Javanese biodiversity

JAKARTA (Antara): The National Institute of Sciences (LIPI) launched a book Thursday about bio-diversity on Java Island titled The Mountain Flora of Java.

Written by botanist CCGJ van Stennis, the original book was first published in 1972 in Leiden, the Netherlands. Stennis worked in Bogor Botanical Park between 1927 and 1949.

The biological head researcher at the institute, Dedy Darmaedi, said the book was very valuable for the development of botanical science in Indonesia.

"Stennis' interest in recording and reviewing Indonesia's flora, especially those found on Java mountains, had resulted in many valuable papers," Dedy was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

LIPI cooperates with the World Bank to publish the book after acquiring permission from the original publisher, E.J. Brill in Leiden. The book contains illustrations of 456 native Javanese flora species.

Moderate earthquake jolts Bengkulu

BENGKULU (Antara): An earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale jolted Bengkulu on Friday at around 09:17 a.m. local time.

The epicenter of the moderate earthquake was at 5.87 degrees southern latitude and 104.46 degrees eastern longitude, around 95 km southeast of Krui, West Lampung, at a depth of 77 km, Puji, a staff member of the Jakarta Meteorological and Geophysics Agency said in Jakarta on Friday.

There were no reports of casualties or damages in the disaster.

Bengkulu Province, located in the western coastal area of Sumatra Island, is prone to earthquakes, In June 2004, a tectonic earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale devastated Bengkulu and killed 94 people as well as injured hundreds of others.

The province suffered a material loss of Rp 400billion (US$44 million) due to the disaster

Quake in Aceh causes panic to local people

BANDA ACEH (Antara): A strong earthquake jolted Banda Aceh city at 3:00 p.m. on Friday causing panic to thousands of residents but so far there was no immediate report on casualties and the magnitude of the quake.

Antara correspondent in Banda Aceh reported that the strong tremors caused panic among city residents, particularly those who stayed inside high-rise buildings.

As the quake shook their buildings, thousands of employees and civil servants burst out and fled their offices.

Serious traffic jamps occurred in the city as the quake rocked its surroundings.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

23 Ozone Depleting Substances Prohibited

Thursday, 26 April, 2007 | 17:01 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The Industry Minister has prohibited the production of ozone depleting substances and other items that use ozone depleting materials.

The regulation is part of Industry Ministerial Regulation No 33/M-IND/PER/4/2007.

The regulation which was issued to catch up with the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol that oblige Indonesia to gradually wipe out the usage of ozone depleting substances.

The Department of Industry has listed 23 types of ozone depleting substances that cannot be produced, especially CFC and halon.

The regulation also mentions that items using CFC or halon must use a logo.

The utilization of ozone depleting substances are prohibited in the production of air conditioners used in vehicles, freezers and fire extinguishers.

In fact, ozone depleting substances are still allowed in foam, air conditioner, and aerosol manufacturing up until June 30, 2008.

In addition, as of July 1, 2008, ozone depleting substances can only be implemented for goods maintenance.

The control process is being carried out under the Department of Industry.

Administrative sanctions such as a revocation of business license and certificate of industry registration will be imposed on any companies violating the regulation.

YULIAWATI

Rp 300 billion sugar refinery to be built in West Sumatra

Syofiardi Bachyul Jb, The Jakarta Post, Padang, West Sumatra

PT Semesta Berjaya is set to build a sugar refinery in the Padang Industrial Park, Padang Pariaman regency, West Sumatra, at a cost of some Rp 300 billion (about US$33.3 million).

Company director Burhanuddin said the refinery, which would be built on a 7-hectare site, would have a refining capacity of 500 tons per day and was expected to meet surging sugar demand in the province.

"Construction will commence in July and we hope that the refinery will have entered into commercial operation within three years," he said after the groundbreaking ceremony, which was also attended by West Sumatra governor Gumawan Fauzi.

To ensure a continuous supply of sugercane, the company will develop 17,000 hectares of sugarcane plantations at five different locations in the province in collaboration with local growers.

About 5,000 ha of the planned sugarcane plantations would be located in Pesisir Selatan regency, 5,000 ha in Dharmasraya regency, 3,000 ha in Padang Pariaman regency and 1,000 ha in Padang.

Burhanuddin said the sugar refinery and sugarcane plantations would create up to 2,800 jobs.

In the early part of the 20th century, Indonesia was the second biggest sugar exporter in the world after Cuba, with annual exports of between 1.5 million and 2.5 million tons, and an annual production of between 2 million and 3 million tons.

However, production has declined sharply since then, turning the country into a net sugar importer, Baharuddin said.

Project recycles city's scavengers

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

One person's trash can be another's treasure. That's one way of describing the principles behind the Ciliwung riverbank plastic recycling program.

The program was started almost a year ago by Jakarta Development Watch (Jadewa), a non-governmental organization (NGO).

"We are tired of criticizing government policy without any results. So we started to think about a program that could really get down to the grassroots," executive director of Jadewa, Santoso, told The Jakarta Post in his East Jakarta office on the banks of the Ciliwung river Tuesday.

He said he started thinking of the idea by observing the people who made a living by scavenging from the large amounts of plastic garbage that floated down the Ciliwung river.

"I proposed a capacity building program to the Education Ministry and they agreed to the proposal," he said.

The Education Ministry gave the organization Rp 100 million (US$10,989) to run the program.

He said he recruited 40 local unemployed and underemployed people and provided them with management training and training on how to identify and recycle different kinds of plastic.

"We divided those people into seven groups which were assigned to mapping out the spots where they could recover as much plastic garbage as possible," Santoso explained.

He added that the organization then bought a plastic processing machine from Surabaya to process the garbage into plastic scrap.

"We can then sell the scrap to a plastic manufacturer in Kapuk, North Jakarta, which will process it into new plastic products," Santoso said.

He said that before, people scavenging in the river would sell plastic to a broker for around Rp 3,500 (US38.5 cents) per kilogram. Now that the plastic was being processed, he said, it could be sold for up to Rp 10,000 per kilogram.

The program has given regular employment to many people living along the riverbank.

"I used to do odd jobs before I joined the program," said, Ino, a 32-year-old program participant.

He said he used to do anything from construction work to scavenging to earn money.

He added that he did not expect much when he first joined the program and only did it during his spare time.

"But this program has given me new knowledge about what I can do with the plastic garbage," he said.

City assistant for the people's welfare Rohana Manggala said the administration had several community empowerment programs.

"Through the subdistrict community empowerment program we provide loans for small enterprises to improve their businesses," she said.

However, she acknowledged there had been improper uses of the money.

From 2002 to 2006, the majority of the Rp 435 billion disbursed by the administration for the subdistrict community empowerment program went unreturned.

But Rohana was keen to emphasize the good news..

"We also have a training center in Pulo Gadung, East Jakarta, where people can have informal training to improve their skills," she said.

She said the city's programs should be given more time to prove they're achieving results.

"The most important thing is people's awareness that they can improve themselves," she said.

Illegal logging suspect walks free in Padang

Syofiardi Bachyul Jb, The Jakarta Post, Padang

The Padang District Court freed an illegal logging suspect Wednesday after finding the prosecutor's charges groundless.

Presiding judge Betty Aritonang acquitted Thedy Anthony, a suspect in an illegal logging case on Sipora Island, Mentawai Islands, of all charges.

Thedy, director of PT Andalas Terang Nusantara, was put on trial in 2005, when the Padang Prosecutor's Office accused him of felling trees in a state-owned forest.

The prosecutor demanded he serve six years in jail for causing a Rp 7.3 billion (US$793,478) loss to the state.

Some 13,000 cubic meters of timber, claimed as belonging to the company, was seized by police while being shipped out of Mentawai.

However, the panel of judges found the indictment groundless. The court said it was not proven that the timber came from state-owned land and there was no evidence or witnesses to support the charges.

The company obtained official letters from the West Sumatra Forestry Office, Betty said.

She said it was not proven that Thedy had violated the Corruption Law or the Forestry Law.

Prosecutor Jopi Novelis from the Padang Prosecutor's Office said he was unsure if an appeal would be filed.

Last year, two forestry officials from Mentawai Islands were found guilty by the Padang District Court on similar charges. Each was given a two-year jail sentence. However, the verdict was overturned by higher court and they were released.

Vinno Oktavia, coordinator of Anti-Illegal Logging Community, a non-government organization in West Sumatra, said he was not surprised by Wednesday's verdict.

"Since the beginning of the investigation it has moved at a snail's pace. The case was taken to court in 2005 but the verdict was only made Wednesday. During the trial, prosecutors were unable to present sound witnesses," he said.

Between 2006-2007, seven illegal logging cases were dismissed in West Sumatra.

"It is a terrible outcome and shows the failure of legal enforcement on illegal logging cases in West Sumatra. It's about time for experts to evaluate these verdicts more thoroughly," Vinno said.

Japan agrees to let in Indonesian fruits

Tokyo, Japan (ANTARA News) - The Japanese government has finally agreed to allow Indonesian fruits, mangoes in particular, to enter Japan and also to help Indonesia fight fruit flies in order for its fruits to meet Japan`s quality standards, an Indonesian official said.

"With the agreement, the Japanese market has been thrown wide open for Indonesian fruits," Pudjiatmoko, agricultural attache at the Indonesian Embassy here, said on Wednesday.

He said the agreement was part of accords reached in talks on the proposed Indonesia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) held in Tokyo in mid-April.

Until now, Indonesian fruits cannot enter the Japanese market as they had yet to meet Japanese quality standards while fruits from the Philippines and Thailand dominated markets here.

The Japanese assistance to fight fruit flies would be given in the form of devices to subject fruits to a "vapor heat treatment" process which would free the fruits from potential pests, he said.

S Korean investor ready to develop biofuel industry in NTT

Kupang, NTT (ANTARA News) - A South Korean investor based in Joellanam-Do province is ready to invest US$100 million in biodiesel oil and biofuel production projects in different parts of Indonesia, including East Nusatenggara (NTT), a provincial official said.

"The South Korean investor, in partnership with Jakarta-based PT Tata Harapan Cemerlang (THC), is currently setting up a project to make biodiesel and biofuel from jatropha curcas plants in West Sulawesi and eyeing opportunities to do the same in Sumba Island in NTT," Ubaldus Gogi, spokesman of the East Nusatenggara provincial administration said here Wednesday.

The $100 million was meant as an initial investment to finance planting and harvesting of jatropha curcas on 30.000 to 50.000 hectares of land.

The two firms would also utilize jatropha curcas in Sumba Island in the making of biodiesel oil and biofuel, he said.

The plan to develop an alternative energy industry in Sumba Island was conveyed by THC president director SA Habibie in a letter to NTT Governor Piet Tallo last April 17.

The PT THC management said it had been cooperating with the South Korean investor since February 4, 2002.

The cooperation initially covered the setting up of long- distance learning classrooms at 18 Indonesian universities and in the production of fresh corn-based cattle feed for export to South Korea.

After the cooperation in the two areas proved successful, the South Korean investor got interested in developing an integrated plantation, including jatropha curcas for biodiesel and biofuel oil production, in West Sulawesi and NTT, Gogi said.

Lampung`s coffee exports drop

Bandarlampung (ANTARA News) - Lampung province`s robusta coffee seed exports in the January - Febriary 2007 period dropped to 14,326 tons from 36,374 tons in a corresponding period in the previous year, head of Lampung Industry and Trade Office, Suparmo said here on Thursday.

He said during the period, the value of Lampung`s robusta coffee seed exports also declined to US$19.8 million from US$35.2 million in the same period of the previous year.

"This means that the export volume decreased 60.61 percent and the export value dropped 43.61 percent," he said.

He said that the drop in Lampung`s coffee seed exports was due to the fact that harvest time had not yet come during that period.

The harvest season will take place in July and August, 2007, he added.

Chief of the agriculture and forestry affairs section of the trade and industry office, Bambang Supartono, said meanwhile that coffee trees at coffee plantation centers in Lampung such as in the districts of Tanggamus, North Lampung and West Lampung, were bearing good fruits.

"Based on our observation, Lampung coffee farmers will have a good time this year with abundant and good coffee products," Bambang said.

During the coffee grand harvest in Lampung last year, the price of coffee in the production centers ranged at between Rp6,500 and Rp10,000 per kg, he said.

Late this month, the coffee price is recorded at Rp12,000 per kg after it reached Rp15,000 per kg in the previous weeks.

Papua offers 1 mln hectares of land for oil palm plantation

Jakarta (ANTARA News/Asia Pulse) - The provincial administration of Papua said it will make available 1 million hectares of land for oil palm plantations. The Sinar Mas Group, the Medco Group and an investor from Malaysia, Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), have indicated interest in building oil palm plantations in the province.

"We have given approval for land clearing covering 1 million hectares of hereditary lands as requested by investors," Papua Governor Barnabas Saebu said.

He added that Papua could provide up to 4 million hectares for them in 10 years if they need expansion.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bogor turns forest into massive dump

Theresia Sufa, The Jakarta Post, Bogor

State forestry company Perhutani handed over a 100-hectare plot of land in the Nambo and Lulut forests Tuesday as a new garbage dump site for the Bogor regency administration.

Perhutani director Transtoto Handadhari said the rocky area could not be used as productive forest and was not profitable for either the company or local residents.

"It's better to use it as dump under our Community Forests Management program," he told reporters after signing a memorandum of understanding with the regental administration on dump management cooperation.

The total area of Perhutani's forest concession in Gunung Karang Mountain, Kalapanunggal district, is 221 hectares.

Currently there are 2,310 families living in Nambo village and another 2,269 families in Lulut village.

Community leader Emis Suhendar said residents had approved the construction of the dump in their neighborhoods.

"Perhutani has kept us informed about the plan for a long time... Since many of the residents use the concession land for farming, we are expecting financial compensation."

Head of the regency's public works agency, Ridwan, said Bogor was in dire need of a new dump as the existing dumps in Galuga and Pondok Rajeg could no longer take garbage from Bogor as well as Jakarta.

Jakarta produces on average 6,000 tons of garbage a day.

"The new dump is expected to be able to take 35,000 tons of garbage a day. Locals would be involved in waste management to produce compost, organic fertilizer and bio-energy, getting paid Rp 40,000 (US$4.4) per day," he added.

Carbon credits: Incentives for biofuel development

The Jakarta Post

Achmad Syafriel, Research Analyst

The forthcoming implementation of the carbon credit system under the Kyoto Protocol will support the development of the biofuel industry going forward.

Starting next year, many countries are expected to reduce their emission levels below the quotas that have been set individually for each country. This is mandated by the Kyoto Protocol, which was signed and agreed to by 141 countries nearly 10 years ago.

The participating countries agreed to reduce six greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, HFCs, and PFCs), associated with global warming.

The Kyoto Protocol is an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international treaty that brought countries together for the purpose of reducing global warming and mitigating the effects of temperature increases.

Bear in mind, the world's average temperature has increased by nearly one degree Celsius over the last 150 years since the commencement of industrialization. The provisions included in the Kyoto Protocol are legally binding on all the countries that have ratified it.

The Kyoto Protocol requires industrialized countries between 2008 and 2012 to reduce emission levels to, on average, 5.2 percent below where they were in 1990. The treaty sets quotas on the amount of greenhouse gases that each country can produce in order to achieve emission reductions of up to 8 percent for regions such as the EU. On the other hand, the treaty still permits emission increases for countries such as Australia and Iceland. However, to date the U.S. and Australia have refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, every activity that reduces oxygen and produces emissions will be penalized. Meanwhile, activities that add oxygen and reduce emissions will be rewarded with what are called carbon credits, i.e., certificates awarded to countries that successfully reduce emissions. These carbon credits can be traded, and one credit is equivalent to one ton of CO2 emissions.

The Kyoto Protocol will be applied in practice by setting emission quotas for companies that typically produce a lot of emissions, such as paper mills and mining firms.

The penalties for such companies could be huge if they fail to engage in oxygen-producing activities. However, companies that exceed their emission quotas will be able to, and will also be required to, compensate for their polluting activities by buying carbon credits. Meanwhile, companies whose emissions are below their quotas will be allowed to sell their carbon credits.

As industrial development in many countries continues, the level of emissions is expected to increase. Going forward, more companies may need to buy more credits to compensate for the pollutants they make. This will push carbon credit prices up and make them a very expensive commodity. In turn, many companies will be encouraged to engage in environmentally friendly activities that could yield carbon credits.

The production and use of biofuel is regarded as a green energy-producing activity. The logic is that the more biofuel is produced, the less fossil fuels will be used, and the lower the level of emissions produced.

Plantations are considered to be oxygen-producers. Thus, their development will yield carbon credits that will be in high demand by many companies.

This opportunity has been identified by many companies, thus partly explaining the influx of investment into the plantation sector in Indonesia and other countries that are promoting biofuel programs.

Next year, the Kyoto Protocol will start to be implemented. The burden on companies in high emissions industries, such as pulp & paper, mining, cement, steel, textiles and fertilizers, will be enormous. They will henceforth need to compensate for their polluting activities with carbon credits. These will be bought and sold on international exchanges, such as the Chicago Climate Exchange and the European Climate Exchange. Credit prices are expected to be high as many industries will probably exceed their emissions quotas.

So, the development of biofuel is not only a means of reducing dependence on fossil fuels, but will also provide a way for major industrial companies to gain access to carbon credits to compensate for their oxygen-reducing activities. The implementation of the Kyoto Protocol with its carbon credit system will provide another boost for the sustainability of the biofuel development program.

Indonesia to import wood to revive collapsed industries

Banjarmasin, S Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - Indonesia plans to import wood to save wood-based industries in various regions in the country that had collapsed because of a shortage of raw materials.

Forestry minister`s expert staff Made Subadya said at a forestry development coordination meeting here on Tuesday, "we are ready to facilitate wood imports to help the industries."

He said several countries that had a stock and had become exporters were among others China, Malaysia and Japan.

The wood from other countries could be used to meet the need for raw material of many wood industries in the country that had collapsed following a shortage of wood stock in forests.

The forestry s ministry had also carried out a smallholders` forest development program covering five million hectares in 2006.

Unfortunately, he said, only 3.5 million hectares had so far been successfully developed, so 1.5 million hectares still had yet to be completed.

The condition of wood-based industries in South Kalimantan was not yet improving and disputes over pay were continuing because of it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Newmont executive, company found not guilty in pollution trial

AP / The Jakarta Post - 2007-04-24 12:17:02

MANADO, April 24, 1007 (AP) - An Indonesian court found a U.S. executive and his company, Newmont Mining Co., not guilty Tuesday of polluting a bay and sickening villagers, a verdict likely to cheer foreign investors and anger environmentalists.

Richard Ness, 57, faced a maximum 10 years in jail and a US$60,000 (euro44,000) fine.

Presiding judge Ridwan Damanik told the Manado District Court that evidence presented during the 20-month criminal trial proved that waste rock dumped into the water by Newmont's now-defunctmine on Sulawesi island did not exceed government standards.

"There also is not enough evidence that people suffered from health problems," the judge said.

Meanwhile, demonstrators gathered outside the court Tuesday said the government should protect its citizens. Crowds swelled from just 60 in the morning to 1,000 several hours later, some chanting and singing.

"We want Newmont and its director to take responsibility for what they've done," said protest organizer, Didi Koleangan, referring to allegations villagers living near the exploration site have complained of skin disease, lumps, breathing difficulties and dizziness.

Though evidence presented to the Manado District Court was limited to a few villagers complaining of itchiness, some activists say follow-up research should be conducted for up to 30 years to make sure they are not suffering from body arsenicaccumulation.

Newmont began operations in Sulawesi in 1996, but the Denver, Colorado-based company stopped mining in 2004 after extracting all the gold and ore it could.

Last year, Newmont reached a US$30 million out-of-court settlement with the government to defuse a separate civil suit over alleged toxic pollution in the bay, and could be fined another US$100,000 (euro73,500) if the company is judged guilty on criminal charges Tuesday.

NGO: Only half of Riau`s forests remain

Pekanbaru, Riau Province (ANTARA News) - A local NGO called the Networking of Riau Forest Saviors (Jikalahari) has estimated that only two million hectares of Riau?s forest areas remained.

The province`s forest areas dwindled drastically compared to those 10 years ago which had reached four million hectares, Jikalahari Coordinator Hariansyah said here on Tuesday.

The forest coverage in Riau shrunk significantly following the land use transformations for wood industries and oil palm plantations.

Due to the business activities, around 200,000 hectares of forest areas in Riau disappeared annually, he said.

In addition to rapid deforestation, the Sumatran province?s peat areas were also degraded seriously.

Riau used to have the largest and deepest peat area in Indonesia, but the peat coverage in the province had decreased drastically, he said.

"The peat coverage has shrunk drastically, despite the fact that the existence of peat forest areas is significant to keep the ecology of Riau Province in balance," Hariansyah said.

He blamed the Riau Provincial administration for issuing policies which allowed transformation of peat and forest areas for plantations and logging.

"The transformation of peat areas continue here despite the fact that it is legally protected by a presidential instruction," the NGO activist said.

Prehistoric crocodile fossil found in Sangiran

Blontank Poer, The Jakarta Post, Sragen

The fossil of a prehistoric crocodile has been found at the Sangiran site in Sragen, Central Java, by a local resident.

"The first bit (of the fossil) that I found was the teeth of its upper jaw," Mulyono, 31, told reporters at the Sangiran Fossil Laboratory on Monday.

Mulyono explained that the finding was quite by chance, as he was digging an irrigation gutter in his rice field. "Suddenly, I found the fossil," Mulyono said. The discovery was made Friday and the excavation was carried out the next day.

On Monday, a number of employees from the Sangiran laboratory were still busy cleaning the fossil, which has a diameter of 49 centimeters and a length of 95 centimeters.

Gunawan, one of the employees, said the fossil was believed to have come from the Middle Pleistocene era, about 1.6 million years ago. "This is still a preliminary estimation, taking into consideration the location of the discovery at a hilly area in Pucung village in Kalijambe district, which has been classified in the Kabuh formation or the Middle Pleistocene era," he said.

So far there has been no formal statement on how scientists will calculate the age of the fossil. "This is still being studied by archeological experts from the Sangiran Museum," Gunawan said.

The Sangiran prehistoric site, which is located partly in Kalijambe district in Sragen and Gondang Rejo district in Karanganyar, is divided into several categories. The oldest category is the Kalibeng formation, which belongs to the high Paleocene category.

According to archeological experts, the Paleocene category signifies an era 1.5 million to five million years ago.

The Pleistocene category is further divided into three sub-categories, namely the Low Pleistocene, which covers the Pucangan formation, the Middle Pleistocene (Kabuh formation) and the High Pleistocene, namely the Notopuro formation.

"The Pucung area (where the fossil was discovered) belongs to the Kabuh formation," Gunawan said

Govt mulls incentives for biofuel sales

Ika Krismantari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government is considering offering financial incentives so as to encourage gas stations to stock biofuel blends, says an official.

Evita H. Legowo, an assistant to the energy and mineral resources minister, told The Jakarta Post on Monday that the incentives, which could take the form of tax relief or subventions, were necessary to ensure that biofuel retailers could continue to operate profitably.

"It is important to provide incentives because if oil prices fall below US$70 per barrel, the market prices of biofuels will be higher than the prices of pure hydrocarbon-based fuels," Evita explained.

She added that the government was in the process of formulating a mechanism for providing the proposed incentives so as to ensure that retailers would be interested in stocking biofuels.

Evita, who is also the first secretary of the National Biofuel Development Committee, said that the committee had proposed to the President that a subvention mechanism might be the best way forward to encourage retailers to stock biofuels.

"Sales of biofuels could be subsidized, like the premium gasoline sold by Pertamina," she said.

Evita also said that the government should consider adopting the methods employed by developed countries in promoting the sale of biofuels, such as imposing additional taxes on conventional fuels.

"Germany, one of the world's biggest biodiesel producers, has imposed a tax on fossil fuels. It might be worth our while to see how they do things over there," she said.

She added that the government could also consider the Philippine and Thai approaches, where it was mandatory for fuel retailers to also stock biofuel.

"However, before we would be able to introduce such a system, where retailers are required to sell biofuel blends, the government would firstly have to create enabling circumstances by providing financial incentives," Evita stressed.

She pointed out that state oil and gas firm Pertamina, which is currently the only biofuel distributor in the country, was finding it difficult to boost biofuel sales because of their higher prices.

Under the government's biofuel promotion plan, Indonesia will increase its usage of biofuels to 5.29 million kiloliters by 2010 and 9.84 million kiloliters by 2015.

Pertamina currently sells Biodiesel-5, a blend of 95 percent hydrocarbon-based fuel and 5 percent biodiesel, in Jakarta and Surabaya, and Bioethanol-5, a mix of 95 percent hydrocarbon-based gasoline and 5 percent ethanol in Malang and Jakarta.

In addition to the proposed incentives for biofuel retailers, the government has issued a regulation providing tax relief for investments in biofuel production.

In January, the government signed 58 agreements worth US$12.4 billion with 59 local and overseas energy firms for the development of oil-palm plantations and processing facilities.

Local lenders Bank Rakyat Indonesia, Bank Mandiri, Bank Bukopin, the West Sumatra regional development bank and the North Sumatra regional development bank have pledged to provide loans of up to Rp 25 trillion for the development of plantations and Rp 25 trillion for the building of processing plants.

Residents flee as floods ruin crops, homes, villages along Bojonegoro river

ID Nugroho, The Jakarta Post, Bojonegoro

Residents of Bojonegoro, East Java, and Cepu, Central Java, are bracing themselves for more floods after four days of rain caused the Bengawan Solo River to overflow, inundating thousands of hectares of rice paddies and homes.

Hundreds have been forced to take refuge on higher ground, while others are living in makeshift tents along the Bojonegoro-Cepu highway.

Flood water levels in Bojonegoro are estimated at between 30 cm and 100 cm.

The water has flooded rice paddies, soccer fields and homes as well as village roads. The worst-affected area is Kalitidu district, Bojonegoro, especially in the Cengungklung and Manukan subdistricts, where entire villages are underwater.

The water has cut access to the area. Residents have used rafts and banana tree trunks to get to their homes and salvage their belongings.

Many residents also rescued their animals.

"We saved our livestock when the road was still passable," said Trimo, a resident of Cengungklung, on Sunday evening.

Floods are an annual occurrence in Bojonegoro. The Bengawan Solo River, the longest in Java, regularly overflows.

In 2006 floods hit 14 districts, with an average depth of one meter. The worst-hit areas were Ledok Kulon and Ledok Wetan.

Reports say the Bojonegoro regency administration is attempting to control the floods by dividing the flow of the river in Sedayu, although it has had little effect so far.

Sidik, a Bojonegoro resident, said the rice field on which he and his family depended for their livelihood was at risk.

"My crops should have been bearing grain now, especially because I spread fertilizer before the floods. But everything has apparently been destroyed," he said.

He said he was likely to lose around Rp 6 million, a substantial sum of money for him, although he said his family would be able to live off the earnings from the small stall they also run.

"Well, the earnings are meager, but the main thing is that we can still eat," he said.

Trimo, who lives along the riverbank, said he faced a similar situation and that he did not expect the floods to subside soon.

"I was happy when they separated the river flow, because my village never flooded after they made the new artery. But the volume of water in the river has increased," he said.

On Friday, however, the river suddenly burst its banks and quickly flooded local roads.

Residents living along the river panicked, packing their belongings and evacuating their livestock when the water reached knee height.

"We were afraid the floods cannot be controlled because we heard that Cepu had already been flooded," said Trimo.

Fortunately, no victims were reported, but water levels have reached up to 1.5 meters, raising the number of evacuees.

"I'm still afraid if I hear thunder. I fear that rain will fall again, the river will overflow and the village will be flooded again," said Trimo.

The floodwaters had not subsided as of Sunday night, while rain was still falling on the border areas between East and Central Java.

Monday, April 23, 2007

President instruct Bulog to channel rice to mily/police, civil servants

Makassar (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has instructed the National Logistics Agency (Bulog) to sell their rice to military/police personnel, civil servants and employees of state owned companies.

"Of course, such rice sold to them should be that of the best quality. Hence we need to improve the quality of Bulog rice in addition to making an efficiency," Bulog President Director Mustafa Abubakar said in a get-together with his employees from all regional divisions of South Sulawesi, here, over the week-end.

According to Mustafa, if the families of military, police personnel as well as civil servants and employees of state companies, there are about six million families who will consume Bulog rice.

"If each family has two children, it means that Bulog can sell rice to around 24 million people," he said, adding that practically Bulog has already had 24 million consumers for the captive market, such a big opportunity we can make use of in view of commercial aspect," he said.

Such rice for employees, military/police personnel were certainly purchased from farmers throughout the country in the form of unhulled rice. Then unhulled rice is then processed to be premium rice before being sold to them, he said.

The price of premium rice should be lower than that in the market. Practically, the farmers will be able to gain the advantage of the rice, as Bulog can immediately absorb their unhulled rice, he said.

To that end, Bulog will discuss it with the Finance Ministry, as it has to do with the calculation of budget by the finance ministry. However the program could be implemented in the next three to six months.

"I hope this year Bulog has been able to open an outlet for military and police personnel, civil servants and employers of state companies, he said.

Eco message goes better with a little entertainment

Anissa S. Febrina, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

From officials planting trees at a suburban campus to celebrities talking about how to save electricity, "green" was the color of the moment as Jakarta commemorated Earth Day on Sunday.

But whether the events in the city actively engaged people or seemed like bland official functions was entirely down to how they were organized.

At University of Indonesia's campus in Depok, Governor Sutiyoso led a green campaign to plant 1,000 trees in the area.

The event, attended by Jakarta Environment Management Agency head Budirama Natakusumah and the university's rector Usman Chatib Warsa, had initially been planned as a public campaign to urge the public to build underground storage pits of excess floodwater, known as percolation pits.

The administration had issued a regulation last year requiring all premises to have the pits to help prevent flooding.

Environmental agency officers demonstrated a simple method of building small pits in the garden, a concept introduced by the Bogor Institute of Agriculture.

However, very few of the local residents and students expected at the event actually joined in, turning a supposedly educational session into a mere ceremony.

"I thought there were going to be artists like most events at this campus," said Anni Koentari, resident of Beji subdistrict, a settlement just outside the campus fence.

She stayed less than 10 minutes before heading back to her home with some friends, saying she found the percolation pit demonstration uninteresting.

A separate Earth Day commemoration at South Jakarta shopping mall Cilandak Town Square would probably have been more Anni's cup of tea, with celebrities and musical performances wrapping the campaign up in a more glamorous style.

Organized by environmental group WWF, the event brought the often unpopular issues of energy saving and waste management closer to the public.

Celebrities taught mall visitors how to choose energy-saving home appliances, and showed how electricity bills could be cut by simple changes in behavior.

Others at the event talked about endangered species and forest depletion, issues further from listeners' everyday lives.

Several booths set up at the center of the mall offered crash courses on how to do composting at home, billed as a way of solving Jakarta's waste disposal crisis.

"Tips like this are more useful for us. They touch our everyday lives and are simple and applicable. I am more interested in this than listening to facts about endangered sea turtles," said booth visitor Aditya Permana.

On top of the practical advice, bystanders were drawn in from the sidelines to the middle of the event by the promise of the bands on stage getting ready to play.

At the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta, some 300 activists from the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) tried to attract passers-by with banners and speeches about forest depletion.

No surveys were done to evaluate which of the three different approaches worked best. But looking at the crowd of curious visitors at the mall green campaign, one can probably guess.