After a small textile dye business in Denpasar was found to have irresponsibly dumped waste in the Badung River and turned the water red earlier this week, the city’s Department of Environment and Sanitation (DLHK) said yesterday that hundreds of similar businesses have been operating without permits and secretly dumping their waste in the river.
“They’ve been hiding from us, and they don’t throw their waste during the day but do so during the night, when we are not on duty [so] in the morning, the water will either be foamy or colored,” Ida Ayu Indi Kosala Dewi from DLHK in Denpasar said, as quoted by Nusa Bali.
Citing data from APBSI, an association for textile dye businesses in the country, Ida said there are about 200 of such businesses in Denpasar. However, there are many others who have yet to join APBSI, making it difficult for DLHK to supervise their activities.
Ida added that none of these businesses currently hold permits, nor do they have adequate waste management facilities. She explained that some of them have been charged with minor offenses, known as tipiring in Indonesian.
Indonesia’s 2009 Environmental Law prohibits irresponsible dumping of waste, and violators face up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of IDR3 billion (US$213,000), if convicted. In addition, those found to be intentionally polluting the environment may also face up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of IDR10 billion (US$708,641).
Ida admits that the Denpasar city government is quite lenient on the small business owners.
“We are still quite [tolerant] because this is how they make a living, and we are giving them [a chance] to conduct their business,” Ida said.
However, AA Susruta Ngurah Putra, a member of the regional council in Denpasar, voiced his disagreement with the practice, highlighting the impact of irresponsible waste dumping to the environment.
“Giving an economic impact by destroying the environment, which one is more beneficial? If the environment is destroyed, everything else follows,” Putra told Tribun-Bali.
“Indeed it is for the sake of economic growth, but if growth is destroying the environment – that is not right.”