Jakarta & Sidoarjo, 29 May 2022


Today, 16 years ago, a mud volcano in Lapindo eliminated residents’ houses, school, mosques, and land fields across 12 villages in Porong, Tanggulangin, and Jabon Sub-District. Thousands of people were forced to flee, some others kept staying home, even though it was full of risks.

For 16 years, this prolonged suffering is neglected; the residents were left to suffer. Agricultural lands, water wells, air, river water, marine ecosystems, are heavily polluted, all of which have implications for the economic, social and health lives of the residents.

The well water, which was previously used to fulfill residents’ daily needs around the Lapindo mudflow site, is no longer usable. The water smells of rust, appears in yellowish-brown colour, and tastes salty. In order to drink and cook, the residents are forced to buy clean water in jerry cans, which costs 2,500 rupiah per 25 liters of water.

Data from three public health centers—Porong, Tanggulangin, and Jabon—showed a high number patients suffer from acute respiratory infection (ISPA). In Porong, there were 3.144 patients, in Jabon the number was as much as 3.623, and reached 28.713 patients in Tanggulangin during 2020.

Residents also admitted that more and more children were detected having growth disorder (stunting). They assume it related to the environment conditions, especially the worsening air and water.

The mudflow occurring since 2006 has also caused heavy metal pollutions, e.g. lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd) and selenium (Se) on agricultural lands and fish ponds around the mudflow of Lapindo. The content of heavy metals in agricultural crops has exceeded the quality standard threshold values, which are Pb 0.157–7.156 ppm, Cd 0.024–2.360 ppm, and Se 0.081–7.841 ppm.

Meanwhile, the content of heavy metals in agricultural crops has also exceeded the threshold value of the quality standard (Pb 0,305–1,611 ppm, Cd 0,034–0,086 ppm, Se 0,066–1,086 ppm). The heavy metal contents lead to unsafe products to consume, as well as to decline agricultural productivity.

Furthermore, Madura Strait also indicated being polluted by the mud flowing to Porong River. Heavy metals contained in the mud drifted within its stream and spread across eastern estuary that connected to the Madura Strait. This has caused the fishery products there are unable to be consumed, for the quite high metal content, such as cadmium, lead and selenium.

The Lapindo tragedy, which first emergence spouted a 180.000 m3 mud, also contributed as the biggest methane gas emission on Earth. A research by Adriano Mazzini et.al stated that the Lapindo mudflow has caused the biggest methane emission ever recorded from a natural gas manifestation. It is influenced by fluids’ pressure from high temperature sediments, as a consequence of magmatic volcano’s existence around.

Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that is 28 times stronger than carbon dioxide (CO2) in a century. The gas is widely released into atmosphere from natural sources, as well as anthropogenic. Approximately, 30% methane coming from fossils like coal and oil, that is estimated reaching 100-145 million tons per year. The high methane emission from the Lapindo site is certain to have an impact on the ozone layer in the atmosphere, ultimately exacerbating the climate crisis.

Today, the prolonged suffering of the residents in Sidoarjo during the 16 years, instead of being restored, rather the government targeting rare earth and lithium contained in the Lapindo mud. This leap will worsen people’s suffering, and on the other hand, showing how greedy the states’ administrator are; neglectful of their own people’s safety.**


Contact Person:

  • Harwati –Porong Resident, A Survivor of Lapindo Case – +62 813-3228-1826
  • Bambang Catur – Pos Koordinasi untuk Keselamatan Korban Lumpur Lapindo – +62 813-3660-7872
  • Ki Bagus – JATAM – +62 857-8198-5822
  • Rere Christanto – WALHI – +62 838-5764-2883