Hundred containers of hazardous materials enter Indonesia

Hundreds of containers of toxic waste have entered Indonesia, according to Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya.

He said here on Thursday that he had recently checked 113 containers of wastes from Britain and the Netherlands and discovered hazardous substances, locally called B3 substances.

“Yesterday 113 containers of wastes had to be re-exported because the wastes carried B3 substances. They were exported from ports in Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Britain,” Balthasar stated.

After Indonesia raised the issue with the two European nations, Britain was ready to take back the goods but the Netherlands had not confirmed about taking the containers back.

“Out of the total 113 containers, 89 would be returned to Britain and the rest to the Netherlands,” Balthasar said.

Kambuaya said the importers of the containers had been named suspects. “The judicial process is still ongoing and they are obliged to re-export the goods,” he explained.

Balthasar said his office had also discovered 118 other containers of wastes carrying B3 substances from African countries, which had entered the country through Jakarta’s Tanjung Priok port.

The minister added that importers must know the rules on waste shipment.

“The incident happened due to delinquent importers. Importers must know the rules, so such delinquent importers must be dealt with. Indonesia must not be used as a dump site,” he said.

Balthasar added that in the future he would also check information about B3 waste imports through Belawan port in Medan, North Sumatra.

Based on the regulation on international waste shipment, exporting countries are obliged to notify receiving countries about B3 substances in their exports.

“Only after the receiving country allows the import should they be able to export the goods. With regard to Indonesia, we have Law Number 32 of 2009 on environmental protection and management that bans entry of B3 substances. The wastes to be imported must be clean,” the minister said.

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