Riri Rahayu, Jakarta – The Legal and Policy Studies Manager of the Indonesian Forum for Living Environment (Walhi) Satrio Manggala criticizes the national strategic project of Rempang Eco-City for its potential environmental impacts.
Previously, the Rempanng Eco-Ctity development was first announced on April 12, 2023. PT Makmur Elok Graha (MEG), the developer, partnered up with Xinyi Group, a Chinese investor, to develop a downstream facility for quartz sand. Xinyi Group will invest US$11.6 billion to develop a glass factory and solar panels.
According to Satrio, the facility will absorb millions of liters of water each day. "Rempang Island is geographically a small island, excessive use of water is risky," he said during a virtual discussion on agrarian conflict in Rempang on Tuesday, September 19, 2023.
Furthermore, there is a risk of liquid waste and hazardous material pollution, exacerbated by the report of liquid waste pollution caused by Xinyi's operation in Canada. "Several components of the waste could potentially damage the aquatic lives in the river or at sea," he said. He also expressed worry about other waste, relating to the relocation of Rempang residents, which are very close to the facilities.
The third potential impact is due to the energy use of the factory. If Xinyi uses a coal-fired power plant, the company's plan to produce solar panels would have no use. "The industrial chimneys for glass manufacture or the power plant are also very close to the human settlements," Satrio added.
Lastly, the Xinyi Group, known for their sand production, could potentially over-exploite the sand on Rempang Island. The exploitation of sand poses a threat of environmental degradation.