17 companies in Indonesia rapped for polluting the environment

PHOTO: 17 companies in Indonesia rapped for polluting the environment

The Environment Ministry has issued 17 firms with so-called "black labels" for polluting the environment and failing to meet environmental standards set by the ministry for the 2012-2013 Environment Management Performance Ranking Program (Proper).

Among the 17 firms are diesel power stations (PLTD) and coal-fired steam power plants (PLTU) owned by state-owned electricity company PT PLN, as well as the five-star Sultan Hotel in Central Jakarta.

The ministry found the 17 firms failed to monitor or carry out toxic waste processing.

"We will run an investigation into these companies, along with 33 others that have been issued with red labels for two consecutive years," Sudariyono, the ministry's deputy on environmental law management, told reporters on Tuesday.

Sudariyono said the ministry would force the firms to start working to improve their records.

"Companies failing to comply will be dealt with," he said.

Sudariyono also said the ministry was now formulating a new regulation that would force errant companies to pay fines, which will be included as non-tax state revenues (PNPB).

The ministry has five classifications in its assessment; gold, green, blue, red and black. Red is given to companies that do not follow environmental standards, while black is for companies that destroy the environment, either deliberately or unintentionally.

Gold is the highest ranking and is awarded to companies that can maintain good waste disposal practices for a minimum of three consecutive years. The ministry awarded a gold label to 12 companies, including state-owned coal miner PT Bukit Asam, liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer PT Badak NGL and Chevron Geothermal Indonesia.

PLN spokesperson Bambang Dwiyono declined to comment on the ministry's assessment, saying the company was still studying the report.

Contacted separately, Sultan Hotel general manager I Nyoman Sarya, said the ministry had not yet informed his company about its survey.

He said the hotel management would discuss the issue internally before responding.

"Our hotel was opened in 1976 and it undoubtedly has sewage treatment plant, but we've never dumped our toxic water," he told The Jakarta Post.

He said the hotel had won awards for being environmentally friendly. "We were awarded the Indonesian Tourism and Travel Award as the leading green hotel in 2011," he said.

Last year, the ministry issued 79 companies with a black label, with four of them currently facing criminal charges, three no longer operational and the rest being required to rehabilitate the environment.

This year, the ministry surveyed 1,812 companies in manufacturing, mining, energy and petroleum, agro industry and services, with 611 issued with red labels, 1,039 companies with blue labels, 113 companies with green labels and 12 with gold.