Eksplor.id, Makassar – Days before, community found sulfur waste that was included in Hazardous and Toxic Waste category contaminating coastal ecosystem of Mori Island, Harapan Village, East Luwu.
This waste is in form of small to medium granules and is clearly visible on the shores of Mori Island to the sea where the depth is still shallow. In addition, local people believe that the waste comes from mining and industrial activities belonging to PT Vale Indonesia.
Responding to this issue, Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) of South Sulawesi responded and strongly condemned the pollution of Mori Island which was strongly suspected to have originated from PT Vale Indonesia’s nickel production activities. WALHI even explicitly calls that pollution as an environmental crime practice.
Therefore, WALHI South Sulawesi asked PT VALE Indonesia’s nickel production activities to be temporarily suspended and an environmental audit conducted regarding implementation of company’s environmental safeguard policy.
This response was conveyed by Slamet Riadi as Head of the Advocacy and Research Department of WALHI South Sulawesi who also stated that this is not the first time that PT Vale Indonesia’s nickel mining and industry activities have polluted coastal ecosystem of East Luwu.
‘In 2014, PT Vale Indonesia polluted Lampia Sea with its oil spill. Then in 2018, we saw that the condition and environmental quality of Lake Mahalona decreased dramatically due to sedimentation of the ex-mining soil. Until 2021 now, Mori Island is also polluted with sulfur waste,’ he explained.
The head of the Department of Advocacy and Research at WALHI South Sulawesi, also made it clear that the pollution of Mori Island due to Hazardous and Toxic Waste is certainly very dangerous for aquatic biota sustainability, health, and people’s livelihoods.
‘Around Mori Island, there are many fishponds owned by community who are very dependent on the health and surrounding water quality. So, when the waters of Mori Island are polluted, the surrounding ponds are also polluted,’ he said.
Finally, Slamet also asked the government and the police not to take advantage of this pollution incident for certain purposes. WALHI South Sulawesi urges the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to revoke the green company award that has been given to PT Vale Indonesia and stop mining activities of the company’s nickel production temporarily, some of which are owned by the Sumitomo corporation.
In addition, WALHI South Sulawesi also urged the government to investigate the waste pollution and review PT Vale Indonesia’s mining permit.
“The CEO of PT Vale Indonesia must be legally and environmentally responsible for the contamination of the East Luwu aquatic ecosystem, especially on Mori Island,” he concluded.