Jayapura, Jubi – Head of Student Unit for Democracy, Human Rights and the Environment (Dehaling) Jhon Fredi Tebai said that the formation of new autonomous regions or new provinces in Papua would threaten the forests, a place for indigenous peoples to forage and live. He said the forests would be destroyed and lost due to massive and excessive infrastructure development, as well as activities of large-scale companies.
"There are many companies that will enter Papua, including palm oil companies, which will take up thousands of hectares, the impact of which is deforestation. The sources of life for the Papuan people were lost as the development entered, with environmental pollution coming from waste of small and big companies, both in the forest and at sea," Tebai told Jubi via WhatsApp message on Thursday, June 30, 2022.
"We students are worried about environmental damage due to waste disposal or garbage. If inhaled by humans, it is likely that they will deteriorate the human's health. Several existing companies have polluted the environment, both the soil and the air we breathe," said Tebai.
"Papuans support their families by working the land. Therefore, the government must think carefully about this environmental aspect," he added.
Politics and Government lecturer at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Gadjah Mada University, Arie Ruhyanto said the Papua expansion would increase the flow of migration to Papua to meet the human resources needs in companies and in the new regional government.
"However, migration can lead to reduced economic space and job opportunities for indigenous Papuans when they cannot equally compete with non-Papuans. There are concerns that the benefit of the expansion will only be felt by non-Papuans because they have adequate networks and capabilities," he said.