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April 3, 2018

Final results of Indonesia project

Research on environment and health in Lakardowo, Indonesia

Summary of Research Results

The results indicated that ground water in the area surrounding PT PRIA factory was contaminated by heavy metals in low concentrations.

The heavy metals content in soil is by far the major concern. All the soils in the area surrounding PT PRIA factory are heavily polluted with heavy metals with concentrations are up to ten times the limit and the control samples: aluminium, iron and manganese, zinc, copper, nickel, chromium, lead, cobalt, arsenic, cadmium, selenium and mercury.

One of the possible causes might be the deposition of polluted dust from the factory incineration and improper ash disposal for prolonged time in the factory area that accumulated into the soil and leached by the runoff. The elevation of PT PRIA is higher than surrounded agriculture area that runoff will drain to the surrounded lower elevation area. The dust coming out from the chimney of the PT PRIA factory is heavily polluted, especially with heavy metals and, due to the absence of winds and the high humidity, it fall down in the nearby ground.

The rice samples that were harvested close to PT PRIA contained much higher concentration of heavy metals than in the control samples. Lead is a major concern for rice harvested close to the PT PRIA factory. Chromium concentration in rice’s samples is also very high and it put critically endanger local populations.

Furthermore, due to the high consumption of rice in rural Indonesia the risk for the population of Lakardowo is even higher than expected.

It is also important to mention that the heavy metals present in the rice are bio-accumulative and therefore this rice is not suitable neither for animal consumption. In fact, animal consumption can only bring to a bio-magnification of the concentration of these metals and make it even more dangerous for human health.

How was our study used?

Lobby and advocacy activities since May 2017

This research recommends local authorities to take action in order to investigate more the causes of pollution in order to immediately stop and remediate them as the actual situation is critically putting in danger the environment and the health of local communities. Our local grassroots organizations, ECOTON and GreenWoman, organized lobby and advocacy activities to warn governments about danger situation in Lakardowo due to environmental pollution and health risks impact for local community and push government to develop environmental pollution mitigation plan.

Meeting with head of Health Department Mojokerto District in August 2017

GreenWoman visited Office of Mojokerto Health Department to ask for health examination to community in Lakardowo that some people especially children suffers skin dermatitis, anemia, joint and finger pain and stiff, and respiratory problems that was suspected to be caused by PT PRIA activity that burn toxic waste in incineration and operation of waste treatment facility.

Meeting with head of EPA East Java Province in Surabaya in October 2017

The head of EPA was informed about the soil and rice contamination by heavy metals. The EPA provided funding to conduct research of soil boring in area surrounding of PT PRIA to study the soil composition to 10 meter depth. The study was conducted by Geophysics Department of ITS. EPA is now investigate the crops failure to grow in area near PT PRIA.

Meeting with head of environment, and social department of President Staffs Office in Jakarta in February 2018

GreenWoman and ECOTON visited President Staffs Office in Jakarta to share the findings in the study concerning the soil and rice contamination by heavy metals. They said will help ECOTON by giving pressure to the ministry of environment and forestry to take serious attention and find best solution for Lakardowo conflict.

Meeting with head of environmental audit Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Jakarta in February 2018

ECOTON met the Director of Planology and Environmental Impact Assessment, and the Director of Environmental Audit. ECOTON asked the government to conduct soil boring inside industrial area of PT PRIA to find evidence of illegal toxic waste dumping underground during construction of PT PRIA in 2013.

Impacts of the study for GreenWoman and situation in Lakardowo
  • Movement of Lakardowo Sovereign Women now is preparing to sue government through Citizen Law Suits. The study will be used as one of scientific evidence to be shown in the trial.
  • The study increase awareness of local farmers. Some of farmers agree to stop growing food crops in the contaminated area nearby PT PRIA. Unfortunately, some of them still grow crops such as chilli, rice and corn.
  • ECOTON suggest the farmer in contaminated land to grow non edible plants, such as teak wood, bamboo or decorative flowers.

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