Jakarta – Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) coastal and marine campaign manager Parid Ridwanuddin says they oppose the government's decision to revive sea sand dredging and is ready to challenge the policy in court.
According to Ridwanuddin, if the government goes ahead and implements the government regulation (PP) lifting the ban on sea sand dredging, which was signed by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on May 15, it will pursue legal channels.
"We at Walhi have discussed it and will sue this PP (if it goes ahead)", said Ridwanuddin during an online press conference on Thursday June 1.
Ridwanudin said they are urging the government to revoke Government Regulation Number 26/2023 (PP 26/2023) on the Management of Sedimentation Products in the Sea.
Not only that, another organisation, Greenpeace Indonesia, revealed that the government never invited them to take part in discussions when the law was being drafted.
The two environmental organisations therefore explicitly reject the new policy and are asking Widodo to revoke the regulation.
"Our position is firm, Greenpeace and Walhi have so far rejected this policy and we criticise the government if it continues [to implement] the PP", said Greenpeace Indonesia Marine Campaigner Afdilah.
There are several reasons why the two groups oppose the policy. First, Greenpeace and Walhi found no data or facts that sea sand sedimentation interferes with shipping activities.
Second, Greenpeace and Walhi also do not see any valid reasons why sea sand dredging should be done. Third, both groups believe that the policy will only cause damage to the marine environment and harm the people who live near the area where sand is taken.
Fourth, they are concerned that the policy will result in the loss of small islands. And fifth, the sanctions provided in the regulation will not deter violations and actually benefit a handful of parties.
"So we reiterate Greenpeace's position that right from the start we reject the PP and derivative regulations from the Job Creation Law and the Mineral and Coal Mining Law or anything that gives a red carpet to certain parties", he explained.
Under these conditions, Afdilah emphasised that the statement by Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono, who claimed that Greenpeace and Walhi were involved in the Government Regulation Number 26/2023 review team, is a lie.
"We categorically refused to be involved in the KKP [Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Ministry] review team for the implementation of the PP 26/2023. Our position is clear that the government must cancel the PP", he added.
Earlier, Trenggono said that that permits for the exploitation and export of sedimentary sea sand would be determined by the study team and invited Walhi to Greenpeace to be involved in the team.
He said the study team consisted of several government institutions and individuals including the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK), academics and environmental activists. This team will also decide whether or not the sea sand to be exported is sedimentation or not.
"The study team has elements from the KLHK, the ESDM, fisheries, BRIN [the National Research and Innovation Agency], and Walhi. If they say sedimentation is allowed, only then will I allow it. If not, then no", said Trenggono during a press conference at his office on Wednesday May 31. (lid/asa)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Walhi Siap Gugat PP Jokowi soal Sedimentasi Pasir Laut".]