Illegal Gold Mine Contaminating Clean Water Source of Bengkayang Residents Located in Protected Forest

621d4e092b1d8 The source of clean water for PDAM Tirta Bengkayang at Intake Riam Madi, Tiga Berkat Village, Lumar District, Bengkayang Regency, West Kalimantan (West Kalimantan), is polluted by waste from illegal gold mining activities (PETI). As a result, at least 35,000 customers are at risk of being affected by mercury. Photo by: KOMPAS

 Source: KOMPAS
Date: March 4, 2022

BENGKAYANG, KOMPAS.com - Unlicensed gold mining (PETI) activities that pollute the clean water source of PDAM Tirta Bengkayang at the Riam Madi Intake, Tiga Berkat Village, Lumar District, Bengkayang Regency, West Kalimantan (West Kalimantan) have penetrated into the Gunung Bawang Protected Forest area.

The head of the Bengkayang Forest Management Unit UPT Henry Octavius said, out of a total of 961.65 hectares of the Gunung Bawang Protection Forest area, 7 hectares of which were damaged due to illegal gold mining. 

"Of the 7 damaged hectares, 1 hectare is in Lumar Hamlet, Tiga Berkat Village, persistent at coordinates: 00°55'26.93" North Latitude - 109°25'09.10" east longitude Gunung Bawang Protected Forest Area, " said Henry when contacted by Kompas.com, Wednesday (2/3/2022).

In this regard, previously carried out socialization activities, counseling, routine patrols to increase public awareness. However, according to Henry, it is still ineffective and illegal mining activities still occur and are even more widespread. 

"We don't have Forestry Police (Polhut) and Civil Service Investigators (PPNS) personnel, so law enforcement cannot be carried out, Henry said.

Therefore, explained Henry, he asked the Center for Environmental and Forestry Law Enforcement Section III West Kalimantan through the Head of the West Kalimantan Environment and Forestry Service to enforce the law. 

"However, what is more important is that all elements of the government, from the center to the regions, work together. After all, the authority for forest areas lies with the provincial and central government," said Henry.

It was reported that the source of clean water for PDAM Tirta Bengkayang at Intake Riam Madi, Tiga Berkat Village, Lumar District, Bengkayang Regency, West Kalimantan (West Kalimantan), was polluted by waste from illegal gold mining activities (PETI). As a result, at least 35,000 customers are threatened by the dangers of mercury.

Various handling and prevention efforts have been carried out to stop these illegal activities. Starting from dialogue with local residents, to holding traditional ceremonies, mining activities are still being carried out.

In fact, the joint team which has routinely carried out patrols in the last two years has only been cat and mouse with the perpetrators. "The location of mining activities is difficult to reach. From Intake Madi, about 2 hours on foot. The road passes through the forest, hilly and steep. In addition, there are lots of rat trails and the perpetrators understand the location better," said Bengkayang Police Criminal Investigation Unit Head Iptu Ambril when met on Monday (28/2/2022). 


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