Walhi

Tumpang Pitu Asks for Justice


Ecology Crisis: Recent Record on Tumpang Pitu Case

Twenty years after the authoritarian regime of New Order, living space of the people throughout the nation seems getting smaller. Important areas for community’s economy, social, culture, and   ecology have changed into capital accumulation center in many ways (plantation, mining, property, infrastructure, etc.). Such condition has caused a significant increasing number of evasion, seizure, intimidation and repression toward the people and their living space. One of such illustrations on brutality is obviously proven in East Java.

In Walhi East Java end-of-year record in 2016, for instance, quite surprisingly it was found out how mining industry was really dominated in controlling living space of the local people within the last 4 years (2012-2016). In such finding, and referring to data of Korsup KPK (Coordination-Supervision Corruption Eradication Commission/KPK) on Mineral and Coal mining, it was stated that the total area of mining in East Java has significantly increased, from 86,904 hectare in 2012 to 551,649 hectare in 2016.

This number indicates that within 4 years, there is 535% increasing of total area for mining; and if this number is compared to the total land area of East Java province worth 4,792,200 hectare, it can be concluded that until now the 11.5% of land area in East Java has been shifted in its function into mining area.

This figure has not been added with the number of annexation of coastal areas and the oceans of East Java which are equally controlled by the oil and gas industry. Walhi East Java records that currently there are 63 Mining Working Areas, the details are as follows: 31 Mining Working Areas as exploitation area or KKKS (Contractor Partnership Contract); and 32 Mining Working Areas as exploration area. It is no doubt that now the rate of socio-ecological crisis and agrarian conflict not only extends in the mainland, but also continues to increase in the coastal areas, or small islands, especially the north and south coast of East Java including the islands of Madura and surrounding areas.

The expansion in area of extractive industry on the southern coast of East Java continues to trigger the rate of social-ecological crises increasing sharply in complex and complex forms. One of them can be found in the case of the struggle of Sumberagung and surrounding residents against the mining industry in Mount Tumpang Pitu -Banyuwangi.

Since the operation of the mining industry in Mount Tumpang Pitu-Banyuwangi, conducted by PT. Bumi Suksesindo (PT BSI) and PT. Damai Suksesindo (PT DSI) from 2012, various socio-ecological crises and a number of safety issues of people’s living space can be seen in Sumberagung Village, and 4 surrounding neighboring villages in Pesanggaran sub-district. One of events that is still traumatic in the minds of Sumberagung villagers and surrounding areas is a mud disaster that occurred in August 2016 ago.

In addition to damaging most of the farming areas of the people, the mud disaster has also caused other important issues, which has made the coastal area of Pulau Merah and surrounding areas are in a very pathetic condition. Even recently, because the damage was found a number of facts that some species of shellfish, fish and some other marine biota begin to disappear from the coast of Sumberagung village and surrounding areas; and a number of groups of animals such as monkeys and antelope began to descend into the farms of citizens because of the destruction of their habitat. Similarly, some wells belong to residents is allegedly polluted and feels sour because of the deterioration of environmental quality. This has not yet been added with a significant amount of pollution and soil, air, and sound pollution.

For the Sumberagung Village fishermen, Banyuwangi, the presence of Mount Tumpang Pitu has at least two important roles. First, Mount Tumpang Pitu is ‘tetenger’ for them when they go to sea. Every morning, when they are on the high seas, the point they are looking to determine the direction is the island of Nusa Barong in the West, Mount Agung in the East and Mount Tumpang Pitu in the middle. If Mount Tumpang Pitu disappears then it can be ascertained, they will lose one of the tetenger mainlands that became the reference direction.

 

Second, Mount Tumpang Pitu is a fortress for the fishing community settlements living on the coast of Pancer Bay from the threat of the famed South wind in certain seasons. In addition he also serves as the main bastion against the danger of the threat of tsunami storm surges. As noted, in 1994, the tsunami waves swept the Pancer coastal area and claimed the lives of 200 people. For residents, at that time the existence of Mount Tumpang Pitu was said to be able to minimize the number of casualties, so it is quite certain if Tumpang Pitu disappear, this threat will be potentially big in taking the number of victims more in the future.

 

Mount Tumpang Pitu is the important are for the people of Sumberagung and other villages surrounding that area. Not only it functions as the center of the spring fulfilling the need for farming and household consumption, the mountain becomes the place for most of the people, particularly women, looking for some medicinal plants for health from generation to generation.

However, after the operation of PT. BSI and PT. DSI, both of which are subsidiaries of PT. Merdeka Copper Gold Tbk, the relationship between the people and Mount Tumpang Pitu was disconnected. Moreover, after the arrangement of Tumpang Pitu mining area as the National Vital Object in 2016 through Ministerial Decision Letter Number: 631 K/30/MEM/2016.

Considering the current condition, the impact of the development of mining industry activity in Mount Tumpang Pitu has been significantly contributed to the quality decrease of the environment, decline in economic income of fishermen, farmers and people’s tourism activists in Sumberagung Village and its surroundings.

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