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.

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)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stop using groundwater, says environmental board

The Jakarta Post, JAKARTA | Sat, 02/28/2009 10:31 AM 


The city environment board (BPLHD) has called on residents and building developers to stop making new groundwater wells and start using tap water.


The call was made following reports that groundwater exploitation had led to water shortages and land subsidence.


BPLHD official Dian Wiwekowati said many city residents were still reluctant to shift to tap water.

“Many residents prefer to dig their existing wells deeper or make new wells to get sufficient water, rather than use piped water,” she said Friday at a press conference.

“Commercial buildings like malls, apartments, hotels and office buildings are doing the same, making water supplies in large parts of the city critical.”

Among the most critical areas are Tebet and Pasar Minggu in South Jakarta, and Duren Sawit, Ciracas and Pasar Rebo in East Jakarta.

Residents of those areas have to dig more than 16 meters deep to get groundwater, and another 8 meters deeper in the dry season.

Residents in less critical areas, like Mampang Prapatan and Kebayoran Baru in South Jakarta, and Cempaka Putih in Central Jakarta, need to dig 12 to 16 meters deep for water, and 18 to 24 meters in the dry season.

Dian said the BPLHD would limit the issuance of permits to build artesian wells for new commercial buildings, as existing wells now contributed more than 80 percent of total groundwater use in the city.


“We will allow them to make their own wells if the tap water companies are not able to provide their entire water needs,” she said.

In 2004, the Jakarta mining agency drew up a memorandum of understanding with private water companies PT PAM Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja) and PT Aetra Air Jakarta and the city’s water operator PT PAM Jaya, requiring the private operators to supply clean water to minimize groundwater use.

However, residents and businesses operators continue to use groundwater, after complaining  about the operators’ poor services, including low quality of tap water, disrupted services and limited pipeline networks.

Last year, the city administration said more than 1,000 companies in the city had overused groundwater.

Aetra business service director Rhamses Simanjuntak said his company was currently working to improve services.

To pressure residents and business operators to limit groundwater consumption, Dian said her agency would ask the city administration to increase tax on groundwater.

“We are currently preparing a draft on groundwater tax adjustment and will propose it to the city council this year,” she said.

Under the proposal, the price of groundwater for elite residential areas will increase from Rp 525 per cubic meter to Rp 3,300, and for industry from Rp 8,800 to Rp 23,000.

Dian said experts from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) had conducted research last year to help the agency decide the ideal rate. (hwa)

Conservationists hunt for man-eating tiger

Oyos Saroso H.N. and Jon Afrizal , THE JAKARTA POST , JAKARTA, BANDARLAMPUNG, JAMBI | Fri, 02/27/2009 2:14 PM

The Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) in cooperation with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and other concerned NGOs are intensifying the hunt for a man-eating tiger.

The Sumatran tiger is reported to have killed and eaten two illegal loggers from Lampung last week in Sungai Gelam district, Muaro Jambi, Jambi. The BKSDA is reportedly mulling relocating the tiger.

On Thursday, ZSL Indonesia representative Dolly told The Jakarta Post in Bandarlampung that a female tiger nicknamed Salwa, who the BKSDA captured on Feb. 11, might not be the only tiger in the jungle that had eaten humans.

The fact that people had continued to be attacked and eaten by a tiger even after her capture indicated there was at least another man-eater in the wild.

"We are now working together with the BKSDA in Jambi to catch the tiger. We have found its traces based on our survey and mapping," Dolly said.

Salwa, now being kept temporarily at Rimba Pall Merah Zoo in Jambi, is strongly believed to have attacked a total of five people, three of them fatally, between the end of January and the beginning of this month.

Dolly said there were frequent reports of the target tiger entering villages in Muaro Jambi area and causing panic among villagers. Its most recent appearance was in Paal 12 village in Sungai Gelam.

"We want to catch it soon. It probably will be released back into its habitat together with Salwa," Dolly said. He also said they would likely be released in a forest in Jambi. "It's possibly the South Bukit Barisan National Park," he said.

Sumatran tigers are the world's most critically endangered tiger subspecies. Only about 250 of the big cats are left in the wild, down from about 1,000 in the 1970s.

Illegal hunting and trading of the rare animals is blamed for their decline. In Jambi, for instance, such practices have rapidly decimated the tiger population from 50 a few years ago to only about 20 at present.

"Unless something is done about it, they will be extinct in only a few years' time," Jambi BKSDA head Didy Wurjanto said recently.

Bojonegoro levee collapses, residents flee home

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 02/28/2009 9:31 AM

A 10-meter long part of a levee in Kanor district in Bojonegoro, East Java collapsed a around 6 o'clock on Saturday morning, causing residents near the incident to flee their home.

Pudjiono, Bojonegoro regency's head of disaster management and refugee command, told Antara that the collapsed part was located at Semambung villlage.

“We have yet to receive reports how many residents have taken refuge,” he said.

Local authorities have worried that more parts of the levee in Kanor district will collapse with waters from the overflowing Bengawan Solo river yet to recede.

Pudjiono said that the administration has prepared village halls, district offices, warehouses and school compounds as shelters for the district refugees, which was predicted to be more than 11,000 families.

The Bengawan Solo river has inundated 10,636 homes across 12 districts in Bojonegoro, forcing thousands of residents to move to temporary camps, and submerging large areas of farm land.

The river water level was recorded raising at 7 a.m. on Saturday. (dre)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Safari Park to get six kangaroos from Australian Zoo

The Jakarta Post | Fri, 02/27/2009 9:38 PM

Indonesia’s biggest public zoo, Safari Park, in Cisarua, West Java, is expected to receive six kangaroos from Australia in late March or early April 2009, to mark cooperation between the Australian Zoo and Safari Park.

The cooperation between the two zoos was initiated several years ago, when Steve Irwin was still active in managing the Australian zoo, Safari director Tony Sumampau said as quoted by Antara news agency in Cisarua on Friday.

Irwin, a 44-year-old TV presenter known as the "Crocodile Hunter”, was killed by a stingray barb that went through his chest, while filming an underwater documentary last September 2006.

Terri Raines Irwin, Steve Irwin's widow, visited Safari Cisarua last year, for some agenda on wildlife conservation.

The six kangaroos would be part of 15 kangaroos to be given to Indonesia by Australia, Sumampau said.

However, the zoo's staff would first monitor to see whether the six kangaroos could adapt themselves to the Safari environment, he said.

Only if the six kangaroos were successful, the rest would be sent to Indonesia, he said.

Based on the past experiences, Australian kangaroos could not survive long in Indonesia, and therefore the Australian zoo had halted the cooperation program previously, he said.

However, Safari’s management had learned the lessons from the past experiences and would assign two keepers and one veterinarian, who had been trained in Australia, to watch over the kangaroos, he said.

The Australian Zoo would also give a pair of Koala bear to Safari, he said.

The Indonesian natural resources and forest protection director general last year signed a memorandum of understanding on the plan to receive two Koala bears from Australia, Sumampau said.

The two Koala bears might arrive in 2011 because Safari needed to plant more eucalyptus trees as the animals eat eucalyptus leaves, he said.

Safari Park has so far had Papua's kangaroos known as 'Walabi', which is smaller than Australia's kangaroos.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Indonesia, Malaysia agree to cut supply of commodities

The Jakarta Post | Thu, 02/26/2009 4:03 PM

Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to work together in strengthening the prices of global commodities, particularly crude palm oil and rubber, through production cut backs.

Malaysia and Indonesia jointly account for 85 percent of global palm oil production and 40 percent of natural rubber production.

State news agency Antara reported Thursday that the two countries had issued a joint statement saying that they were preparing measures to “ensure stable pirces in particular for palm oil”.

"These measures include managing palm oil stocks and reducing supply through replanting programs," the statement said.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Peter Chin Fah Kui and Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Indonesia Dr. Ir. Anton Apriyanto met in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday to discuss bilateral cooperation on the matter.

The Indonesian Minister is in the city to attend the Developing-Eight (D-8) Ministers Meeting.

For palm oil, the ministers have agreed to accelerate replanting of oil palm trees which are above 25-years old, implementation of biofuel program, increasing domestic demand for crude palm oil and jointly engage major importing countries of palm based methyl ester in addressing non-tariff barriers for the exports of biofuel.

Malaysia has implemented the blending of five percent palm based methyl ester with fossil diesel.

Indonesia implemented a minimum of one percent blending program in the public transportation sector and a minimum of 2.5 percent blending in the industry and commercial sector. These minimum percentages will be increased to 2.5 percent in the public transportation sector and five percent in the industrial and commercial sectors.

Both ministers also want to exchange production and stock level data on a regular basis to facilitate stock management and promote palm oil through engaging the related legislators of importing countries.

As for rubber, both countries will accelerate replanting of rubber trees aimed at managing the supply of natural rubber.

"Malaysia has revised upwards the original target of replanting rubber areas to 50,000 hectares in 2009 from 32,000 hectares. Indonesia is replanting 55,000 hectares with rubber in 2009," the statement was quoted by Bernama as saying.

Meanwhile, both countries also agreed to control the expansion of new planted area for rubber, encouraging the reduction of tapping frequency.

The ministers hope that these measures will reduce price volatility and contribute towards stability of both palm oil and natural rubber prices in the longer term.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

State Set To Recover Idle Land

The Jakarta Globe, Arti Ekawati, February 25, 2009

The Agriculture Ministry plans to survey the management of lands leased by the state to large-scale plantation companies across the country to identify those that are not being worked on or have been abandoned, Achmad Mangga Barani, the Agriculture Ministry’s director general of plantations, said on Tuesday in Jakarta.

Owners of abandoned plantations, he said, would be warned and their licenses revoked after 18 months if they failed to cultivate the leased lands.

He said the survey would categorize plantations into five categories: excellent, good, adequate, poor and abandoned.

In determining a plantation’s category, the ministry would take various factors into account, such as soil management, financial management, economic performance and the management of social relations in the vicinity of the plantation.

Achmad said that the survey was aimed at encouraging big plantation firms to manage their lands better and to minimize abandonment.

The survey, he said, would start in the middle of the year and would focus on three major types of plantation: cacao, oil palm and rubber.

The owners of abandoned plantations would then be issued with warnings. “We will give them 18 months to improve their management after the warnings,” Achmad said. “If there is no improvement, we will withdraw their plantation licenses and confiscate the land.”

The survey is also being done to determine how much of plantation land has been abandoned.

“We must recalculate and reclassify the land to identify the exact area,” he said.

He said that instead of lying abandoned, the land could be used for other purposes, such as the growing of food crops.

Winarno Tohir, chairman of the Progressive Farmers’ and Fishermen’s Association, or KTNA, welcomed the government’s plan to seize abandoned plantations.

“It’s a good idea,” he said. “The lands could be used for the growing of food crops and for increasing both farmers’ incomes and national food production.”

According to Winarno, there are currently some 56 million hectares of abandoned plantations across the country, with about 32 million hectares consisting of abandoned rubber and oil palm plantations.

“It would be very disturbing if we weren’t able to use this abandoned plantation land for something useful, considering the limited area of land for growing food crops,” he said.

At present, Indonesia only has about 7 million hectares of irrigated paddy fields.

“This area could be expanded by taking over the abandoned plantations. So, we would end up being able to produce more rice,” Winarno said.

Sutarto Alimoeso, the Agriculture Ministry’s director general of food crops, said that the National Land Agency, or BPN, had identified 9.1 million hectares of idle land that could be given over to the growing of food.

“The land could be parcelled out to small farmers over the next three to five years,” he said.

However, he warned that not all the land would be suitable for rice cultivation.

She's a man eater

The Jakarta Post | Wed, 02/25/2009 6:02 PM

In this handout photo released by Zoological Society of London (ZSL) Indonesia, a female Sumatran tiger nick-named Salma that is believed to have killed three men is photographed by a camera trap one day before being caught, in Sungai Gelam, Jambi province on Sumatra island, Indonesia, Tuesday.

Sumatran tigers, the world's most critically endangered tiger subspecies, mauled to death six people in the region last month, prompting conservationists to launch a massive operation to capture and relocate the animals. Only about 250 of the cats are left in the wild compared to about 1,000 in the 1970s and without immediate action it could become the first large predator to go extinct in the 21st century. (AP/ZSL Indonesia)

Related Article:

Endangered tiger kills 2 loggers in Sumatra

Komodo dragon attacks Indonesian park ranger

The Jakarta Post, Irwan Firdaus, The Associated Press, Jakarta | Wed, 02/25/2009 7:43 PM 


A Komodo dragon climbed a ladder to a park ranger's hut and mauled his hand and foot, officials said Wednesday. The victim received severe lacerations but appeared to be recovering.


The attack on Rinca, one of three islands where the world's largest lizard can be found in the wild, occurred Sunday when the animal entered the hut and lunged at the victim, who was sitting at his desk, said Daniel Ngongo, a Komodo National Park official.


The 46-year-old victim, Main, screamed for help and jumped onto his desk, clutching the neck of the still-snapping reptile. He then let go of the reptile and fled out the window as colleagues raced to his aid and used wooden sticks to force the dragon out of the hut.


Main, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, received more than 30 stitches, but appeared to be recovering.


"I'm lucky I survived," Main said from his hospital bed on nearby Bali island. "Nothing like this has ever happened to me ... in 25 years on the job. I've never been attacked."


Attacks on humans by Komodo dragons are rare. A Komodo dragon attacked and killed an 8-year-old boy in 2007 on Komodo island, the first recorded deadly attack on a human by one of the giant lizards in 33 years.


The reptile can grow up to 10 feet long (three meters) and weigh as much as 150 pounds (70 kilograms), have shark-like serrated teeth and a bite can be deadly. The reptile's saliva contains roughly 50 different known bacteria strains, so infection is a risk.


"He seems to be recovering," said nurse Adi Palguna. "He's been on antibiotics for the last three days, and there's no sign of toxin poisoning."


The reptiles, believed to number less than 4,000, can only be found in the wild on the eastern Indonesian islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca.

Cut and sold

The Jakarta Post  |  Wed, 02/25/2009 4:51 PM  

 A 150-year old Rain Tree or also known as Monkey Pod Tree lay on the ground after being cut down employees of a furniture manufacturer that bought the tree from local government officials. The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) accused the officials of a violation of a city park regulation for letting the tree to be cut down. (JP/Wahyoe Boediwardhana) 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Apple Growers Face Shortage of Organic Fertilizers

Tuesday, 24 February, 2009 | 16:49 WIB 

TEMPO Interactive, Batu:The allocation of 84 tons of organic fertilizers for Batu in 2008 proposed by the local municipal to the East Java Provincial Government will not be enough to go around. 

According to Mochamad Toha, Batu Apple Farmers Group secretary, farmers need 40.000 tons of organic fertilizers for around 1.5 million apple trees that are still productive. “Cattle dung is one of our specialties,” he said yesterday.


Besides organic fertilizers, farmers also use a non-organic fertilizer called Phonska. This year, around 2.475 tons of Phonska fertilizer was enough to meet the apple farmers’ needs.


Public Relations and Protocol chief, Eko Suhartono, said that most of the subsidized fertilizers proposed for 2009 consist of 4.579 tons of urea fertilizer followed by 3.972 tons of ZA fertilizers, 2.475 tons of Phonska, 1.051 tons of Superphos and 84 tons of organic fertilizers.


Abdi P

Illegal trade threatens Indonesia`s box turtles: watchdog

Kuala Lumpur (ANTARA News) - Southeast Asian box turtles are being wiped out from parts of Indonesia, where millions are butchered for their meat or sent to pet shops in the US and Europe, according to campaigners.

The wildlife monitoring group Traffic said the massive illegal trade has caused the turtle to disappear from areas where they were once common, with an estimated 2.1 million creatures being traded each year.

"The turtles are used for meat and in traditional Chinese medicine, with major markets in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Malaysia, mostly supplied from Indonesia," the group was quoted by AFP as saying.

"Box turtles are also in demand as pets in the US, Europe and Japan."

Traffic urged Indonesian authorities to crack down on illegal trade, and set limits on how many can be safely harvested each year.

It said that Indonesia's official annual export quota for the box turtle was just 18,000 a year but that unregulated trade could be between 10 and 100 times the legal level.

"The current level of illegal exploitation will result in Southeast Asian box turtles being systematically wiped out across Indonesia, indications of which are already obvious at collection and trade centres," said the report's author, Sabine Schoppe.

The study found at least 18 traders in Java, Sulawesi, Sumatra and Kalimantan dealing illegally in box turtles, which are listed on the CITES convention that regulates international trade in wild animals and plants.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Govt clears forest in Wallacea line: Study

Adianto P. Simamora , THE JAKARTA POST , JAKARTA | Mon, 02/23/2009 9:40 AM

Most of the tropical forest covering the Wallacea Line in eastern Indonesia have been cleared in the last half century, thanks to government programs.

A recent study found that besides clearing forests, the government-sponsored transmigration program had put dozens of rare bird, mammal and amphibian species in danger of extinction.

A study by Conservation International found that the remaining forest currently measured only 50,774 square kilometers, down from an initial 338,494 square kilometers.

“A deforestation problem that is somewhat unique to this region was caused by the transmigration program,” the study, titled “Warfare in Biodiversity Hotspots” and published on Saturday, read.

The transmigration program, launched during former president Soeharto’s era, was aimed at tackling overcrowding on densely populated islands by moving large numbers of people to sparsely inhabited areas.

The report said there were currently about 1,500 endemic species of plants, 49 of threatened birds, 44 of mammals and seven of threatened amphibians in the Wallacea area.

The Wallacea line, named after naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace who explored the area between 1854 and 1862, runs between Bali and Lombok to Borneo and Sulawesi.

The world’s largest lizard, the Komodo dragon, is restricted to the islands of Komodo, Padar, Rinca and Flores in the Wallacea hotspot.

The area is one of 23 hotspots to have experienced “warfare” in the second half of the 20th century, said the study published in the scientific journal Conservation Biology.

The study identified a hotspot as a region containing at least 1,500 species of vascular plants as endemics, which has lost at least 70 percent of its original habitat. There are 34 hotspots around the globe.

The study said more than 80 percent of the world’s major armed conflicts, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths from 1950 to 2000, occurred in regions with the most biologically diverse and threatened places, from the Himalayas in Asia to the coastal forests of East Africa.

Conflicts often play out in the hotspots as fighters take advantage of the cover provided by deep forests and high mountains.

The use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons has increased their impact on the environment.

The study said that during the US war in Vietnam, the use of the defoliant Agent Orange by the US had destroyed forest cover. Timber harvesting also funded war chests in Liberia, Cambodia and Congo.

“In those and countless other cases, the collateral damage of war harmed both the biological wealth of the region and the ability of people to live off of it,” the report said.

It also found that refugees from wars in and around biodiversity hotspots could add to the problem by hunting for food, cutting trees for firewood and building camps in the endangered environments.

“This astounding conclusion — that the richest storehouses of life on earth are also the regions of the most human conflict — tells us that these areas are essential for both biodiversity conservation and human well-being,” Russell A. Mittermeier, Conservation International president, said in its statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

“Millions of the world’s poorest people live in hotspots and depend on healthy ecosystems for their survival, so there is a moral obligation — as well as political and social responsibility — to protect these places and all the resources and services they provide.”

Indonesia, the world’s third largest forest nation with about 120 million hectares of rainforest, has long been under pressure to protect the forest and its biodiversity.

Firms blamed for river pollution

Multa Fidrus, THE JAKARTA POST, BANTEN  |  Mon, 02/23/2009 11:30 AM 


 Black river: The water of the Cirarab river is black and foamy, allegedly due to industrial pollution from the Pasar Kemis industrial area. JP/Multa Fidrus

Thousands of industrial firms in Banten province are believed to be causing environmental damage which has triggered unpredictable weather cycles. 

Based on a recent study conducted by the Banten Environment Care Foundation (Yapelh), some 4,013 industrial firms contribute a great deal to land, air and water pollution. 

“More than that, the polluted land, air and water has become the main source of various kinds of diseases the local residents have suffered from so far,” Uyus Setia Bakti, director of Yapelh, said Saturday. 

He said that only a handful of industrial firms have undergone the legally required environmental impact analyses (Amdal) or have equipped their factories with waste treatment facilities. 

“I think there will be a time when we will no longer be able to get clean water or air,” he said.

According to Yapelh, the heavy metal contents in the water flowing through the Cisadane river had exceeded 400 ug/nm per 24 hours; a safe level is no more than 230 ug/nm per 24 hours. 

“It means that the river has been heavily polluted by industrial waste and such a condition is very dangerous for health,” he said, adding that most of the firms had violated a ministerial decree on the environmentally tolerable limits. 

The Banten provincial administrations has officially called on industrial firms to abide by a 1999 government regulation on pollution control and a 2001 regulation on water quality management and water pollution control. 

The call was made after is was determined that many firms were disposing of their untreated waste into rivers and the sea. 

Last year the Banten Environmental Body (BLHD) caught at least five firms dumping dangerous waste into rivers. The five firms were red and black listed.      

BLHD head Karimil Fatah said the condition of several rivers including the Cisadane, Cidurian, Ciujung, Cimanceuri in Banten was worrying — it is not safe for residents to use the water. 

“The water can only be used during the rainy season but during the dry, the water turns blackish and smelly,” he said. 

Similarly, Aris Mundandar, head of the agency’s pollution control department said that, “almost all water flowing through all rivers in Banten is heavily polluted. It means it can’t be consumed.”

Head of the Tangerang municipal Environmental Body, Erwin Mustika, said the local administration would monitor waste management systems at 100 firms. 

“We have been preparing a team to do the task,’ he said. 

In response to the Banten administration reports that say industrial firms great contributors to the environmental damage, Juanda Usman, the secretary of local Employers’ Association (Apindo) said only industrial firms that did not follow the procedures could be declared as contributors to the environmental damage.  

“Following the procedures means that the firm posses Ipal and Amdal. If all firms followed the procedures, environmental damage would not happen,” he said, adding that the administration must be more assertive towards violating firms. 

He said if the administration is assertive, it would not let industrial firms violate the rules and procedures.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sweden to launch waste refinery project in RI

The Jakarta Post, Wed, 02/18/2009 2:55 PM   

INDONESIA: Sweden, one of the few countries which fulfilled Kyoto Protocol emissions reduction target, in collaboration with Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta, will launch the Waste Refinery Indonesia project in Yogyakarta, the Swedish Embassy said on Tuesday.


From the Swedish side, the municipality of Boras and the University of Boras will work with UGM.


Both Sweden and UGM are jointly organizing a two-day workshop in Yogyakarta that will be opened on Wednesday by Swedish Ambassador Ann Marie Bolin Pennegard and UGM rector Prof. Sudjarwadi, on waste refinery. Both Pennegard and Sudjarwadi will also launch the Waste Refinery Indonesia project.


"The objective is to develop a network around Indonesia under the project name Waste Refinery Indonesia," the embassy said in a statement sent on Tuesday to The Jakarta Post. - JP


The Jakarta Post   |  Sat, 02/21/2009 11:22 AM 

A man looks for his belongings on Friday in the rubble of his house on Jl. Indrakila, Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. A landslide ravaged the area after heavy rains in the city on Thursday evening, wounding three residents. JP/Nurni Sulaiman

Endangered tiger kills 2 loggers in Sumatra

The Jakarta Post, Zakki Hakim, The Associated Press, Jakarta | Sun, 02/22/2009 3:00 PM

Endangered killer: An Indonesian park ranger pours a bucket of water into a trap in which a wild Sumatran tiger that is believed to have killed three people is caught, at a palm plantation in Sungai Gelam, Jambi province, Indonesia, on Feb. 11, 2009. Another Sumatran tiger mauled two more men to death early Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009, bringing to five the number of people killed by the critically endangered cats in less than a month, a conservationist said Sunday. AP/Irwin Fedriansyah

A Sumatran tiger mauled two illegal loggers to death in Sumatra, bringing to five the number of people killed by the critically endangered cats in less than a month, a conservationist said Sunday.

The tiger attacked a 50-year-old man and his 18-year-old son early Saturday while they slept next to a pile of stolen wood in a protected forest on Sumatra island, said Didy Wurdjanto of the state conservation agency.

Three people were killed in two separate attacks in late January in the same area. Park rangers last week trapped an adult tigress believed responsible for those deaths and it was being relocated.

The Sumatran tiger is the world's most critically endangered tiger subspecies. Only about 250 are left in the wild, the Forestry Ministry said, compared to about 1,000 in the 1970s.

The tigers' diminishing population is blamed largely on poaching and the destruction of their forest habitat for palm oil and wood pulp plantations.

In some cases the animals roam into villages or plantations in search of food, setting the stage for a conflict with humans.

In the latest attack, however, the animal had not strayed from its habitat so there will be no effort to catch and relocate it, Wurdjanto said. "This time it was the loggers fault," he said.

About 40 people were killed by tigers on Sumatra in 2000-2004, according to the state conservation agency, which said the trend has continued since then. New figures are to be released in April.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bakrie to begin paying Lapindo victims next week

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 02/20/2009 6:21 PM 


The Bakrie family has said that it will begin the distribution of monthly Rp 15 million (US$1,250) payments to victims of the Lapindo mudflow disaster next week after lengthy discussions with the victims and Social Minister Bachtiar Chamsyah.


Nirwan Dermawan Bakrie told on Friday that his family would transfer the allotment to each family each month via Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI).


“We ask for the victims to start opening new accounts at the bank as we will transfer the money next week. We'll also accelerate the construction of houses for the victims so that they can move immediately,” he said, adding that his family would monitor the distribution of the money closely.


National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri previously told residents to accept the decision after tough discussions to find a solution.


Meanwhile, Lapindo victims are still considering the decision and have yet to respond. (ewd)

Managing plastic

The Jakarta Post  |  Fri, 02/20/2009 4:21 PM  |  Jakarta

 A man washes recycled plastic at a slum area in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday. The government has unveiled a plan to cut the use of plastic bags, and appealed to the managements of shopping centers across the country to provide consumers with "eco-friendly bags" to aid its efforts. (AP/Tatan Syuflana)


Mining Threatens Environment

Friday, 20 February, 2009 | 12:18 WIB 

TEMPO Interactive, Purwokerto: The activity of mining at rivers and mountains in Banyumas is of concern. Environmental activists said the mining can destroy environmental preservation. “Especially along the river in Banyumas,” said Fugging Septisianto, coordinator of a community organization, Caring Community, Slamet (Komplet), yesterday. 

Meanwhile, Head of the Entrepreneurs’ Stone Association, Aswin Sudarsono, denied it. “We all have permission for this activity,” he said. He mentioned 29 stone entrepreneurs registered in Banyumas. In one day, they can generate 50-100 cubic meters of stone. 

Regional secretary of the Banyumas Government, Muhammad Santoso, said that the government is very selective in giving mining permission. “If the circumstances do not meet our requirements, we will not give it,” he said. 


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Elephants destroy farms in Lampung

Oyos Saroso H.N., THE JAKARTA POST, Lampung | Thu, 02/19/2009 11:43 AM

Wild Sumatran elephants from the Way Kambas National Park (TNWK) have destroyed hundreds of hectares of rice and other crops in several villages in the three districts of Labuhan Ratu, Way Jepara and Purbolinggo, in East Lampung regency.

The attacks caused panic among local residents as the animals strayed in to residential areas. Labuhan Ratu resident Ruslani, 40, said Wednesday that villagers were frightened because some had previously been stomped to death by raging elephants.

“They come in a group of about 30 every night, destroying our rice paddies, cacao, cassava and corn farms,” said Ruslani, who claimed to have lost his 2-hectare cassava farm through such an attack.

He added all the men in the village were now patrolling each night to prevent the elephants encroaching on the village, by shining lamps and making noise with a traditional kentongan (bamboo or wood tubes knocked together to produce warning signals) and bamboo fireworks.

But Ruslani said the herd did not seem to get frightened at all, despite this tactic often having succeeded in the past.

“They seem to have more guts today. Now it’s us who are frightened that they may fight us back.”

The elephants, according to Ruslani, have been entering the villages since January. They usually come at night and leave at dawn.

“They’re capable of destroying 6 to 7 hectares of rice paddies and other plantations in a single night,” he said.

Mudir, 40, of Tegalyoso, Purbolinggo, said the elephants had destroyed his 2-hectare corn farm, which he depended on heavily to pay his children’s school fees.

Efforts to drive the wild elephants back into the forest have been carried out by the TNWK and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) by deploying forest rangers and activists using four trained elephants every night.

But the herd continues to come back, destroying farms and property in its wake.

A 29-kilometer-long canal, running through 12 swamps in the three villages of Labuhan Ratu 6, 7 and 9 has been built by the park to prevent the elephants encroaching. But after it was damaged in early 2007, small groups of between 10 and 15 wild elephants began entering the villages.

Bigger groups of elephants have also attacked the villages, with the TNWK recording up to 59 elephants in such a group.

Lone elephants have also been reported attacking villages around the Bukit Barisan National Park (TNBBS) in Ulubelu district, Tanggamus regency, destroying ready-to-harvest rice, coffee and coconut crops, as well as farmers’ huts.

Hendrawan, director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment’s (Walhi) Lampung branch, said environmental damage in the elephants’ habitats through rampant illegal logging was behind the attacks.

“We can’t just blame the elephants. They wouldn’t do this if their habitat was still intact,” he said.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Newly-born baby

The Jakarta Post | Wed, 02/18/2009 2:20 PM

Newly-born baby: Panthera Tigris bengalensis Kartini and her one-day old cubs are seen at Bali Zoo Park in Gianyar, Bali on Wednesday. (AP/Firdia Lisnawati)

RI CPO exporters seek to comply with EU certification rules

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 02/18/2009 2:06 PM

Indonesia's crude palm oil (CPO) exporters are preparing themselves to have their products meet the "sustainable certification" requirement.

This requirement is soon to be applied in international markets, and Indonesian exporters need to comply so as not to lose their competitive edge, a minister and business players said on Tuesday.

Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono awarded on Tuesday the first ever Sustainable CPO Certificate to PT Musim Mas, one of the industry's major players, and said at least four other companies would follow suit in the following months.

"Crude palm oil contributed around US$10.7 billion to the country's economy in 2008 and the industry absorbs around 3.7 million laborers," Apriyantono said, speaking on how vital the commodity's contribution to the economy is.

"Right now, there are four other companies which are preparing themselves to meet the standard needed for the certification. They are PT Hindoli in South Sumatra, PT Lonsum and PTPN 3 in North Sumatra, and PT Sime Indo Agro in West Kalimantan," he added.

The certification, which is issued by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), is vital to the Indonesia CPO industry because it will help the world's largest CPO producing nation to maintain its market share, especially in EU countries.

The European Union EU requires that starting in 2010, all of the CPO imported into EU countries will have Sustainable CPO Certification to ensure that the production process of the commodity was carried out in an environmentally friendly way.

This measure was adopted because EU environmentalists felt the rapid expansion of Southeast Asia's oil palm estates was in part responsible for the destruction of tropical forests and wildlife.

One of the requirements for the certification test is that CPO producers must prove that their production process can reduce the greenhouse gas effect, or greenhouse effect, by as much as 35 percent.

The certification also requires CPO producing companies to meet eight main principles including transparency, legal and regulatory compliance, long term financing capability, best production practices, environmental responsibility, and labor welfare assurances along with 39 other standard criteria.

"We invested around $20 to $40 per hectare in our plantation to meet the standard. In total, the investment was around $600,000," PT Musim Mas president director Bactiar Karim said.

The secretary general of RSPO, a non profit-oriented organization grouping growers from CPO_producing countries, Vengeta Rao, said the organization, along with the government, would help smaller growers to acquire certification.

"The cost to acquire the certificate will be much lower for smaller growers, but we have yet to determine how much that will be," Rao said.

The country exported around 13 million out of 17 million tons of palm oil produced in 2007. The volume of CPO exports increased the following year to 14.5 million tons out of a total production of 18.5 million tons.

"We exported around 1.5 million tons of CPO with a value of $1 billion to the EU last year," Derom Bangun, former chairman of the Indonesia Palm Oil Producer Association (Gapki) and vice chairman of Indonesian Palm Oil Board (DMSI), said.

"Another advantage of having a certificate is that certified companies may sell their products $40 higher per ton, compared to companies who do not have certification."

DMSI marketing head Susanto said that the certification would not have much immediate impact on the industry, but it would definitely give an edge to Indonesian CPO producers in the long run.

"PT Musim Mas is just the beginning. Slowly but surely, all of the palm oil estates in Indonesia will be receive the certification," he said.

The country's CPO prices were booming in the first half of 2008. Prices hit a peak of $1,200 per ton, generating huge profits.

The global financial crisis, however, inevitably turned the tables around. Lack of demand from the market caused an oversupply that slashed the average price of the commodity by around 60 percent by October, although the prices have started to climb and stabilize again since the start of this year.

Industry players recently projected a conservative forecast of 20 million tons of production capacity this year, targeting 14 to 16 million tons of exports, with a favorable average price level at $400 per ton. (hdt)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tea export share may fall, but income rise

The Jakarta Post | Sat, 02/14/2009 11:01 AM

More tea please!: Tea pickers working at Tambaksari tea plantation in Subang, West Java. Indonesia foresees a decline in its share of the global export tea market in 2009 due to stagnation in the production capacity of the industry, the Indonesia Tea Board (BTI) said on Friday. ANTARA/REZZA ESTILY.

The Indonesia Tea Board (DTI) forecasts a potential decline in Indonesia’s share of the global tea market this year given flat output due to declining prices and the increasing conversion rate of tea plantations.

“We rank sixth in the world for tea exports today, but it’s very possible that we’re going to be the seventh by the end of 2009,” DTI production department head Insyaf Malik said during a press conference on the upcoming tea and coffee exhibition on Friday.

“Our market share has been declining since 2003. Back then we had around 5 percent of market share while today we can only secure around 3.9 percent,” said Malik.

Indonesia markets around 60 percent of its tea production capacity to the international market with around 51 percent of exports destined to Europe and Russia.

Malik argued the decline in the share was primarily attributable to stagnant output.

“While global tea production is constantly increasing, our production has remained at around 150,000 tons per year during the last five years,” he said.

DTI data shows the flat output is caused by a combination of factors, including fluctuations in tea prices, which discourage farmers to plant the crop, and increasing conversion of tea plantations for industrial and property use.

This is evident as the plantation area has shrunk to 133,000 hectares last year from 136.000 hectares in 2006, according to the DTI.

“The industry players seem reluctant to invest in area expansion because, frankly, the tea business has not been very profitable in the last five years,” Malik said.

However, Malik is upbeat that the industry could increase the value of exports despite flat output.

“We believe that because of potential increases in the prices for the commodity, export value is likely to reach US$140 million this year from $135 million last year,” he said.

Output is forecast to reach as much as 153,000 tons this year. But if there is a drought then output will only reach 145,000 tons, according to Malik.

However, DTI marketing and promotion head Tridjoko Subandrio said the country’s tea industry would face other stiff challenges with the planned signing of a free trade agreement between the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) with India during the upcoming ASEAN Summit in Thailand on Feb. 27.

“From our point of view, the deal is more like a challenge rather than an opportunity,” Subandrio said.

As the second largest tea exporter after China, India is one of the main competitors in the global tea market for Indonesia.

Subandrio said that DTI would encourage tea producers to focus more on increasing production for domestic consumption.

“Our research shows that an Indonesian only consumes 300 grams of tea per year. We should find ways to promote tea as a lifestyle product and hopefully we can increase local consumption to up to 600 grams per head per year,” he said.

“We also hope that the government would reduce tea imports from other countries.” (hdt)