Gov't to Revitalize W. Java's Citarum River After Dangerous Pathogen Discovered


JANUARY 10, 2018

Jakarta. The government will work hard to revitalize the Citarum River in West Java after a dangerous pathogen with the ability to resist antibiotics was discovered, Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said on Tuesday (09/01).

"We have conducted testing and discovered a dangerous bacteria in Citarum River, which has resulted from the waste disposal of 146 nearby factories," Luhut said during a press conference in Central Jakarta.

The bacteria, pseudomonas aeruginosa, has the ability to resist multiple classes of antibiotics, according to a study published by the Clinical Microbiology Reviews.

The same study also said the bacteria can cause a number of diseases, including pneumonia, urinary tract infections and bloodstream infections.

According to Luhut, Citarum is the world’s second most polluted river. The 269 km long river is the source of water supply for the Cirata, Jatiluhur and Saguling dams.

The river irrigates 400,000 hectares of rice fields along its banks through the three reservoirs.

The Cirata power plant, the largest hydropower plant in Southeast Asia, is the source of 1,400 megawatts of hydropower that are distributed to Java and Bali.

"The governor [of West Java, Ahmad Heryawan] said that he’s considering to close the river step by step, because the waters will contaminate the marine life and pose danger to future generations," Luhut said.

He added that the government is committed to address the issue by combining efforts across institutions, including district governments, ministries, the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) and the National Police. Furthermore, a meeting on Citarum River revitalization is scheduled for this Thursday.

"This is a common enemy that we must fight together … if we’re not careful, the generation in our demographic bonus will be affected," Luhut warned.