14 mln ha of river basin areas in critical condition: minister

14 mln ha of river basin areas in critical condition: minister

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya. (ANTARA/Prisca Triferna)

Indonesia has 17,076 river basin areas spanning more than 189 million hectares, of which 14.3 million hectares are in critical condition and must be handled and replanted
Jakarta (ANTARA) -
Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya revealed that 14.3 million hectares of river basin areas in Indonesia are in critical condition and need to be rehabilitated.

"Indonesia has 17,076 river basin areas spanning more than 189 million hectares, of which 14.3 million hectares are in critical condition and must be handled and replanted," she said during a discussion on the rehabilitation of river basin areas to restore the environment and improve the public economy here on Monday.

Human activities will play a role in changing the natural landscape, turning it into critical land, if recovery, reclamation, and rehabilitation efforts are not made, she explained.

Indonesia now has an estimated 592 thousand hectares of open land in 349 districts and cities. This has led to the supporting capacity of areas to fall and become critical, thereby leading to natural disasters such as erosion, flood, landslide, and drought, the minister said.

Hence, the rehabilitation of river basin areas has been made part of efforts to restore the environment and has become the development agenda of President Joko Widodo to achieve good quality environment, which is the right of the Indonesian people, in accordance with Article 28H of the 1945 Constitution, she said.

In addition to the central and regional governments, holders of forest area utilization permits (IPPKH) are also obliged to rehabilitate river basin areas, she added.

Rehabilitation efforts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic will not only benefit the environment, but also encourage the economy of local people engaged in these activities, she noted.

Currently, 1,039 IPPKH are still active over 500,131 hectares of land. They comprise 669 IPPKH for mining, covering 445,953 hectares, and 370 for non-mining activities, covering 10,993 hectares, she informed.

The minister then lauded the rehabilitation efforts made by private companies and encouraged other parties to follow suit. 

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