Villages in Magelang issue laws to protect environment

Sumber:The Jakarta Post - 22 Agustus 2008

A number of villages in Magelang regency, Central Java, have made a significant breakthrough in imposing laws on environmental conservation by issuing a set of local ordinances, including on fishing and water management.

The rules are aimed at providing village officials as well as residents with a legal basis to reprimand and mete out penalties against offenders.

Eight villages dotting the southern slope of Mount Sumbing have begun enacted their respective ordinances. The villages are: Sukomakmur, Sutopati, Sukorejo, Sukomulyo, Krumpakan, Banjaragung, Mangunrejo and Sambak villages, all in Kajoran district, Magelang.

"We have more freedom of action and we are no longer hesitant to enforce the guidelines," Sutopati village secretary Suharto told The Jakarta Post recently.

"We have placed signboards displaying the village ordinances in a number of strategic places, such as at the entrance to the village, near water sources, along the river and in the eco-tourism forest.

"We're certain the signboards are quite visible to people."

The rules, which consist of 12 chapters and 14 articles, were drawn up during a series of village meetings and were authenticated on Sept. 26, 2007 by village chief Hartono and acting Magelang regency administration secretary Soeharno.

"We held seven meetings to draft the ordinances. Given the village ordinances, we now have a legal umbrella to remind our residents, or those from other villages with negative intentions, not to damage the environment," said Suharto.

Paragraph 10 of the document states: Anyone caught fishing using poison (potash or poison roots) can be fined 10 times the value of the catch, and anyone caught fishing using electrical or stunning devices will be fined 10 times the combined value of the catch and the confiscated equipment.

The same applies to hunters using prohibited weapons.

The ordinance for Banjaragung village entails 10 paragraphs and 30 articles. Article 10 concerns potable water use. Residents are urged to use water sparingly and according to their needs.

The article also demands that residents pay water tariffs agreed to by heads of their respective villages. The rules also require household waste be dumped in designated areas to avoid damage to the environment.

Paragraph 7 details punishments and prohibitions similar to those of Surapati village, although its fines are stiffer. According to the paragraph, those caught fishing with poison will be fined between Rp 500,000 and Rp 1 million and their equipment will be confiscated.

Non-governmental group Environmental Services Program (ESP) has been instrumental in enacting the villages' ordinances, with the main goal of preserving the environment as well as water sources around Mount Sumbing.

"The Potorono area is of great significance in that it is a catchment area and is located in the upper reaches of the Tangsi River, which is part of the Progo river' delta area.

"The area is also rich in bio-diversity, which is key to a balanced environment," said watershed management specialist of the Central Java and Yogyakarta office ESP M. Sigit Widodo.

The village ordinances are enacted mainly to ensure water source conservation, welfare improvement and village-generated income growth.

"The ordinances can further ensure sustainable environmental preservation and water source use, and in a more macro manner can also boost efforts in protecting the area's bio-diversity for the sake of achieving harmonious surroundings," Sigit said.

The villages' ordinances reflect their communities' individual urgencies.

For example, Sukomakmur village's rules give particular attention to forest resource management in Sukomakmur forest, while that of Sutopati village focuses more on management of natural resources and that of Sukorejo village emphasizes environment management and planning.

Sukomulyo village's rules focus on preservation efforts and forest resource management, while Krumpakan's mainly concern forest resources management and conservation; Banjaragung's cover water management, Mangunrejo's sustainable forest resources and Sambak's agribusiness development and management. Suherdjoko

Post Date : 22 Agustus 2008