Move cement industry off Java Island, expert says

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Cement plants must be moved outside Java to prevent worsening ecological damage to the most densely populated island, an environmental expert said on Wednesday.

The cement industry should be included on the list of business sectors in Java closed to foreign investors to protect the environment, a senior adviser to the environment and forestry minister, Suryo Adi Wibowo, said.

“We need to tighten regulations on the extractive industries, especially cement,” he said in a discussion on Wednesday.

The cement industry causes environmental damage as the extraction of its raw materials drains water sources in many areas of Java.

Cement plant activities also hamper agriculture sectors as it deprives farmers of their farmland from the ecological damage, forcing them to find other jobs, Suryo added.

In some areas of Java, limestone quarries have already met rejection from residents. Women from Kendeng, Central Java protested the establishment of cement plants by cementing their feet in Jakarta last month, urging the government to shut down the plants. (sha/rin)