Ban Mercury Use in Traditional Mining, President Jokowi Instructs
President Joko Jokowi Widodo said he received information that the use of mercury in 850 traditional mine sites has caused hazardous pollution.
The pollution is not only dangerous to the health of 250 thousand miners, but also to the health of their families, particularly the children, as well as the people living around the mines, President Jokowi said in his introductory remarks at a Limited Meeting on the Ban of Mercury Use in Traditional/Small-scale Gold Mining (PESK), on Thursday (9/3) at the Presidential Office, Jakarta.
Therefore, the President said that the Government should immediately take several measures by managing traditional and small-scale mining sites both inside and outside forest areas and stopping and banning mercury use in traditional mines immediately.
During my visit to Maluku Province three weeks ago, I instructed the Indonesian National Police Chief (Kapolri) to stop gold mining that use mercury in Mount Botak and it has been stopped, the President stated.
After the mines are managed, President Jokowi asked the authority to periodically monitor the use of mercury, not only in traditional mining but also in medium and large-scale mining.
President Jokowi also called on the evaluation of mercury supply and distribution, including a monitoring to its import because the President was informed that illegally imported mercury has infiltrated traditional mining.
For that reason, President Jokowi stressed the importance to educate people about the dangers of mercury and its effects on the health of the people and the environment.
People must be educated about mercury exposure that could harm not only the miners and their families but also the future of their children, who could suffer birth defects or intellectual disability, the President added.
President Jokowi reminded that the closing and managing of illegal traditional mining are not solely the solutions to this issue, instead, he added, the Government should also seek alternative livelihoods for the miners.
On that occasion, the President also called on Ministry of Health to provide medical assistance for those who have been exposed to the mercury.
Also attending the limited meeting were Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Darmin Nasution, Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Puan Maharani, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut B. Pandjaitan, Minister of Home Affairs Tjahjo Kumolo, Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya, Minister of Agrarian and Spatial Planning/Head of National Land Agency Sofyan Djalil, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Ignasius Jonan, Minister of State-Owned Enterprises Rini Soemarno, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing Basuki Hadimuljono, Minister of State Secretary Pratikno, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, Minister of Health Nila F. Moeloek, Minister of National Development Planning (PPN)/Head of National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) Bambang Brodjonegoro, Indonesian National Defense Forces Commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, and Indonesian National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian. (SM/FID/JAY/ES) (RA/EP/YM/Naster)