Earth Day commemorations in Indonesia were low-key, but those who marked the day were quick to warn of the worsening environmental situation.
An environmental group on Sunday called on the Aceh administration to stop issuing permits to convert forested areas for other uses.
“We also call for the government to immediately conduct an inspection of all forest conversion permits,” T.M. Zulfikar, the executive director of the Aceh office of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), said in Banda Aceh on Sunday.
Zulfikar said the permits, which are issued to plantation, mining and other firms, should be reevaluated.
He added that the government should reestablish people’s customary rights to forest areas to ensure their preservation.
Zulfikar said 58 percent of Aceh’s 5.7 million hectares was covered by forests, but that this was shrinking under the pretext of investment, both in plantations and mines.
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