Increasing Stakeholder Engagement between Karawang Companies

The condition of the Citarum River, which was once declared the world’s most polluted river, has now improved thanks to the Citarum Harum project, following the intervention of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who formed a special task force (Satgas) to address it. With the improvement of the Citarum River, the local government of Karawang and industrial companies are now starting to consider the establishment of sustainable water governance in Karawang by forming a special forum. This was conveyed by  Resmiani, as the head of the Environmental Pollution Control Division of the Dinas Lingkungan Hidup (DLH) West Java Provincial, through a teleconference at the recent Sharing Season Stakeholder Forum towards Sustainable Water Governance event organized by PT SUN Consulting and PT HM Sampoerna.

“Now (Citarum River), it’s much better. Maybe industry’s more compliant (to environmental law)” stated Resmiani in her speech.

Nevertheless, there is a need for an improvement in the quality of water governance that involves all stakeholders, ranging from the government to the industry. This includes reducing pollution loads.

 She also mentioned that the burning of the Sarimukti landfill has led some residents to dispose of their waste in the river once again. “The largest contributor to river pollution is human behavior, and then also industry. However, I believe that the industry in now more compliant.” Therefore, Resmiani appreciates the project initiated by PT HM Sampoerna to achieve sustainable water governance.

Desi Ariyanti, as the Sub-Coordination of Pollution Control at the Dinas Lingkungan Hidup (DLH) Karawang, also agrees that the government can’t work alone. Moreover, when discussing sustainable water governance it’s not just about downstream issues. It must be done sustainably from upstream to downstream.“

Desi mentioned that in Karawang, there are 48 companies in the industrial area and industrial zone that discharge directly into the Citarum River. However, their compliance is only at 50 %. “We have also made various efforts” stated Desi.

The management of Karawang International Industrial City (KIIC) also supports this collaboration. KIIC claims to have water governance mitigation measures in place, such as when the water supply from Kalimalang decreases. “We have seven lakes, indeed two of them are large with a capacity of 50.000 cubic meters’ said Ali Kustia, part of KIIC’s Industrial Water Division.

He also admitted that he knows that there are 58 springs in the area behind the Kawasan Industri. Therefore, it is not impossible for KIIC to participate in the conservation of these springs. “That might be the direction. Perhaps we will direct CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) there. But earlier, we were surprised to learn that there are 58 points in the back. We will study it further” he said.

As information, Indonesia received a funding of 100 million US dollars, or approximately 1.4 trillion Indonesian Rupiah, from the World Bank in 2019 to improve the Citarum River. The funding was provided all at once and served as a new funding model from the World Bank to Indonesia. “This serves as a model, so we began this program this year, and we aim to complete in within 5 years,” said Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, who at the time was serving as the coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs.

The Citarum River Basin itself is important to be restored as it serves as a support for the agricultural sector in Bandung and its surrounding areas. Recognizing the importance of the Citarum River, Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo inspected the water condition in the agricultural areas within the Citarum River Basin, in Bandung Regency, West Java on Sunday (August 13, 2023). This inspection is a follow-up to the directive of the president of the Republic of Indonesia (RI) Joko Widodo (Jokowi), to ensure that the agricultural sector continues to produce amidst the long-lasting extreme El Nino weather conditions. “The Ministry of Agriculture (Kementan) continues to work to ensure that agricultural land throughout them is from the Citarum River Basin,” said Syahrul Yasin Limpo in a press release on Monday (August 14, 2023).

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