Palembang, S Sumatra (ANTARA News) - The South Sumatra branch of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) has urged the local government to immediately overcome continuous environmental damage in the province.

Local WALHI`s Executive Director Anwar Sadat said here on Wednesday that the environmental damage of river pollution, deforestation, and ecological destruction in South Sumatra should be seriously dealt with immediately.

In the company of his staff, Hadi Jatmiko, Anwar Sadat said that based on the facts and findings during an investigation in 2010, illegal logging activities and ecological destruction in the province were still rampant.

"We are afraid that if the local government fails to do something about the environmental destruction in the province immediately, it will get even worse in 2011," Anwar Sadat said.

WALHI predicts that environmental damage in Indonesia this year would increase by 50 to 70 percent compared to that of previous year.

Walhi`s activist Mukri Friatna said in Jakarta on Wednesday that there were a number of factors which would contribute to the damage namely the government which kept giving license for big mining and paper companies to operate.

Another factor was the threshold of company`s waste to be disposed which was considered to be relatively loose and no longer relevant to the actual condition.

Mukri referred to the environmental impact assessment (Amdal) report obliged for every companies.

The third factor was the absence of government`s regulation about the guidelines for composing the environmental strategic research program (KLHS).

The fourth was the fact that many provinces and districts had not yet completed their Regional Regulation about the Spatial Planning.

Mukri also said there were companies and hospitals which had not yet made Amdal report and proper waste management.

He also considered the government was being too slow in handling cases related to environmental damage.(*)

Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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