Greenpeace activists from the Rainbow Warrior today exposed the loading of suspected illegal plywood in the mouth of Lamandau River. The area, located on the west side of Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan, Indonesia, is home to a rapidly diminishing population of orang-utans. Greenpeace is in the region at the invitation of national non-governmental organisations and the Indonesian Environment Minister to witness environmental problems facing this highly sensitive and volatile region.
A Greenpeace campaigner watches as plywood is loaded on to a Maltese bulk carrier, The Greveno, anchored near the mouth of Lamandau River, on the west side of Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan
The Rainbow Warrior approached and photographed one bulk
carrier, the Greveno, flagged in Valletta - Malta, being used to
transport plywood. The plywood was destined for export to the
Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom. These operations are
part of a trade that drives the environmental destruction common to
the Asia Pacific region. The plywood documented onboard the Greveno
comes from the Korindo Mill, located next to the Tanjung Putting
National Park. The Indonesian government has found that this mill
has used illegal timber in its operations.
"Greenpeace is here to document the massive and illegal
destruction of these forests," said Stephen Campbell of Greenpeace
International, speaking from the Rainbow Warrior. "We informed
Mr.Wahjudi Wardojo, Secretary General of the Indonesian Ministry of
Forestry, and called on him to mobilise the relevant authorities to
investigate the legality of the shipment and to stop the
destruction of these ancient forests."
"However, this problem does not just belong to the Republic of
Indonesia," said Campbell. "The international community has a prime
opportunity in the coming two weeks to come to the aid of countries
in this region experiencing similar problems by taking decision
that will provide real solutions on behalf of the forests."
This action is part of the Greenpeace campaign to highlight the
crisis being faced by the forests and oceans in the Asia Pacific
region and the rest of the world. In the lead up to the Summit for
Life on Earth-the meeting of the UN Convention on Biological
Diversity which begins next week in Kuala Lumpur, Greenpeace is
calling on governments to act immediately to establish a
comprehensive network of protected areas around the world with
effective law enforcement and management.
"The Paradise Forests of the Asia Pacific (1) are riddled with
the problems of illegal and destructive logging and the
unchallenged operations of unscrupulous individuals and
corporations," said Campbell. "To find and document destructive
logging operations in Kalimantan hammers home the need for
governments to urgently work together to end the biodiversity loss
in these endangered forests".
Orang-utans are on the verge of extinction and the main reason
for this is the destruction of their natural habitat. Even in
National Parks in Indonesia these endangered animals are not safe
from the illegal loggers. Current estimates, according to the
Indonesian Government, are that almost 90% of all logging in
Indonesia is totally illegal.
Notes: (1) The Paradise Forests of Asia-Pacific is defined by Greenpeace as the diverse tropical forests of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the nearby archipelagos. Indonesian activists from WALHI and Forest Watch Indonesia, and an international media contingent accompany the Greenpeace flagship. The Rainbow Warrior has an international crew onboard with representatives from regional timber producer countries - Indonesia and Papua New Guinea; and consumer countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, India and the USA.