Batang, March 30, 2017. Two heavy equipment which operating in East Roban waters, Batang, today occupied by a number of activists who are members of Break Free coalition namely Greenpeace, WALHI, and Jatam. Activists also unfurled a banner that called for Stop Batang coal power plant construction projects.
Most of Batang citizens earn money as fishermen and farmers, have been fighting for more than five years, to oppose this dirty project. “After the financial closure signing by President Joko Widodo last year, people get more suffer in Batang. “Access to their land even to the sea is closed, making people lose income, they often experience intimidation and criminalize even before the power plant was built,” said Didit Wicaksono, Climate and Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace Indonesia.
Batang coal power plant is claimed to be the largest in Southeast Asia with a capacity of 2000 megawatts. It will release about 10.8 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere – the equivalent of carbon emissions across the country Myanmar in 2009.
If this plan is continued, the coal power plant will be built on a land area of 226 hectares, preying on productive agricultural land, technical irrigated rice plantations covering an area of 124.5 hectares and 20 hectares of jasmine, rainfed area of 152 hectares, and the most surprising is the power plant will be built at the Marine Conservation Areas Ujungnegoro-Roban, which is an area rich in fish and coral reefs, the area that became the catchment area of fishermen from various regions in the North Coast of Java.
Marine Conservation Coastal Ujungnegoro-Roban, Batang, has been designated as Natural Park Sea Region through the Government Regulation No. 26 Year 2008 on Spatial National Annex VIII Number 313, and Regulation Java Province No. 6 of 2010 Concerning RTRW Central Java Province No. 6 of 2010 on Spatial Central Java province Years 2009-2029.
“The development of coal power plant has causing environmental impacts at various places. A very real visible impact is on the fishermen lives”, said Dwi Sawung, Energy and Urban Campaign Manager from WALHI. “In the regions where coal power plant is located, a small fishing life activities in the coastline is very disturbed, the fish catch has dropped dramatically, damaging their livelihood. “The rejection of this development not only happen in Batang but also in other places such as Indramayu, Cirebon, Jepara, Bengkulu, and Cilacap. The health impacts of pollution such as diseases related to respiratory experienced by those who live near the location of coal power plant “, he explained.
While Melky Nahar, Head of Campaign from JATAM stated, “The government claims that the 35,000 MW project will meet the supply for 13% of the people of Indonesia whom unelectrified, seems not going to happen”. “Given that, approximately 60% (21,000 MW) out of a total of 35,000 megawatts of power generation, will be built in the industrial area of Java and Bali, where the electrification ratio has almost reached 99%. It means, this mega project built just to meet industry requirements alone”, he said.
Batang citizens has done dozens of actions in Batang, Semarang, and Jakarta. They also have made various efforts, including taking legal action, hearings with various government agencies, even go to Japan to meet with the investors. Today’s action, is to re-emphasize the government and investors that their struggle in resisting this dirty project is not yet over.
Coal power plant construction is contrary to the vision of President Joko Widodo in Nawacita of achieving food sovereignty and realizing the energy sovereignty. It is time for President Joko Widodo lead the energy revolution by choosing renewable energy sources are safer and more sustainable and not choose coal as the largest contributor to climate change and major caused of deadly air pollution in the world.
- Dwi Sawung, Energy and Urban Campaign Manager, WALHI Nasional, 08156104606
- Melky Nahar, JATAM Head of Campaign, 081338036632
- Didit Wicaksono, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Indonesia, 081319815456
- Rahma Shofiana, Media Campaigner for Greenpeace Indonesia, 08111461674 (in Jakarta)
- Zamzami, Media Campaigner for Greenpeace Indonesia, 08117503918 (on site)