Bishop of Timika: Oil Palm Plantations in Timika Threaten Coastal Communities.

uskup timikaThe bishop of Timika, Mgr. John Philip Saklil, Pr has asked local government to take a firm stand on PT Pusaka Agro Lestari (PAL)’s oil palm plantation which has been operating in Mimika regency since 2011.

“The environmental impacts which have emerged are quite significant. This will become a serious threat for residents along the coast,” said Bishop John, when met at Rumah Transit Bobaigo in Timika, Papua, on the sidelines of a “life of service” event for clergy, monks and nuns on Sunday afternoon (23/11/2014).

The Bishop said that PT PAL is continuing to expand the area of its oil palm plantation, as it holds cultivation rights (HGU) for a 38,000 ha piece of land.

“This could mean the end for forests and trees in the Timika area. Some time ago a major flood occurred in Miyoko and Aikawapuka villages. PT PAL has to take responsibility for this”, the bishop said.

Another impact of the oil palm plantation, Bishop John continues, is that rivers have become shallow and polluted, and now trees and plants will not grow on their banks.

“Rivers that have become shallow have the potential to flood if there is heavy rain, just as happened before in Miyoko and Aikawapuka villages.”

“If this situation is not addressed, it could well be that Kokonao and other villages downstream from PT PAL’s operational area will experience the same thing. It is equivalent to launching a disaster upon coastal communities”, he said.

According to the Bishop, local government must take concrete steps to ensure that the negative impacts which have emerged do not continue to get worse, and the coastal communities remain safe.

“This problem should not be left to drag on, the government must take action, this is to safeguard coastal inhabitant’s livelihoods”, the bishop affirmed.


Source: Suara Papua

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