Antara News, Saturday, November 28, 2009 00:59 WIB | Environment
Banjarmasin (ANTARA News) - Environmental damage in South Kalimatan has reached an alarming level, Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said here on Friday.
He said South Kalimantan, known as the "province of one thousand rivers", would some day be hit by big floods if the serious environmental problem was not addressed properly.
"Uncontrolled deforestation, air pollution, and water pollution over the past 15 years are major problems in the province," the environment minister said.
The minister said fires and illegal logging activities in the 2003-2007 period alone had destroyed more than 1.7 million hectares of forest in the province.
He said the extensive forest damage in the province had diminished the water flows in river basins and therefore floods and landslides frequently happened.
In 2007 alone floods hit the province 32 times and in 2008 and 2009 the number continued to increase because of silting up of rivers and illegal logging activities.
Such a condition, according to environment minister, was worsened by the malfunctioning of rivers as a result of domestic and industrial activities.
To overcome the problems, the local government would launch clean-water and blue-sky programs, in addition to the construction of waste water management systems, and rehabilitation of degraded forests.