October 01, 2014
Palu, Ekuatorial – If Riau province was ‘famous’ for its smoke, then Donggala district of Central Sulawesi was known for its dust. The statement came from Muhammad Subarkah, an activist of Sulawesi Community Foundation (SCF), to describe massive nature destruction over mining companies in the district.
Subarkah slammed on mining industries for producing dusts polluting the air. “Not only that, these companies are also dredging its coastal areas for its barges which will transport their mining,” he said to Ekuatorial, in Palu, Central Sulawesi. He added that people were facing potential flash floods because of land degradation.
Meanwhile, Wisran, head of community unit of Watusampo, Ulujadi sub district, Palu, said that they used to do seaweed and sugar-apple, locally known as srikaya, farming. However, it had changed for the past few years as barge come and go destroying coastal areas. They are no longer able to do seaweed farming. Wisran added that their srikaya production have declined drastically because of infertile soils. He suspected that dusts coming from mining activities have polluted their soils.
“Most of us abandon our srikaya fields because it does not produce any more,” he said.
Furthermore, he said that land opening for mining did not bring benefit compare to destruction it had brought to the people.
“Maybe one of the benefits [of mining industries] is that people get to have new job at their sites,” he said. However, it did not take long time because local people were doing odd jobs which currently have been replaced by tractors and machines. “Now, most of the people are unemployed because the company only required for truck drivers, tractor drivers, or crews,” he said.
Hamidah, staff of Watusampu Community Health Center (Puskemas), said that since mining industries were booming, it has resulted to increasing numbers of acute respiratory infections (ARIs) cases in the city. There were 396 cases recorded in 2013. Nevertheless, the Palu Health Agency has yet to categorize it as an ‘extraordinary situation’. “There is a team from the government to investigate whether these AIRs cases in Donggala linked to the mining activities,” she said. “ Januar Hakam.