Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Tangerang |
In the absence of a regional bylaw prohibiting illegal sand quarries, small entrepreneurs in Tangerang regency keep extracting sand without permits.
Holes left by sand-mining activities in the regency are scattered in several districts in Tangerang: Legok, Pagedangan, Cisauk, Curug, Cisoka, Tigaraksa, Jambe and also in northern coastal districts like Mauk and Sukadiri.
The holes have turned into small lakes during the rainy season. The holes, which can be as much as 20 meters deep, pose dangers to local residents. Some reports said a number of residents have drowned while swimming in the “lakes”.
The Jakarta Post has observed that one of the quarrying activities took place on the banks of the Cisadane River in Suradita village in Cisauk.
The river banks have big holes stretching across dozens of hectares of land that bear no safety warnings for the residents.
Residents in the village said that the activity had gone on for almost two years and no one in authority had ever come to stop it.
Maskurin, one of the village’s longtime residents, said that the administration needed to pay attention to the illegal activities.
However, one of the sand-mining entrepreneurs, Wawan, said that the activity, which used heavy equipment, did not disturb the environment.
“There have been no complaints and we don’t see any environmental damage caused by this mining,” he said.
He claimed that he had obtained a permit from the local authority.
Tangerang regent Zaki Iskandar said the regency needed stronger regulations to stop illegal sand quarries.
“We have tried to reduce the activities by confiscating the rechargeable batteries of several pieces of heavy equipment used to mine the sand,” he said. “The batteries are now piled up in the Public Order Agency’s office.”
However, he said, if the agency managed to halt the operations of one sand quarry, another would start in a different place. He said the illegal miners were not afraid because the punishment was too lenient.