Public Perceptions of Environmental Management
(edited 8th June)The Jakarta Post has printed an apology for letting Jakartass accurately quote inaccurate information. I can't say that it makes much difference, but being bold in making corrections is probably a good thing. A poll
of some 5,000 people in all of the nation's
provinces in January, but published this week, found that
% of the respondents could not identify Rachmat Nadi Witoelar Kartaadipoetra as the current State Minister for the Environment, 40%.said they knew nothing about the ministry's work, while another 23 percent were unaware of the ministry's existence.
The Jakarta-based Soegeng Sarjadi Syndicate Center for Political Studies
, which conducted the poll, is a non-profit institution established in 2001 to help ensure that the process of democratisation stays on track.
Regarding the poll, the syndicate director Sukardi Rinakit said, "Most of the people we interviewed wanted the government to promote green and clean cities. It's sad to find that the authorities empowered to manage the environment have failed to fulfill such a simple wish.
"Former environment minister Emil Salim said while he did not support politicians making decisions based on opinion polls, this recent survey showed Rachmat had his work cut out for him."The poll shows there is a gap between what is being said and what is being done," Emil told The Jakarta Post.He said Rachmat should do more to promote green issues in other ministries and to encourage the President to give public policies "environmental souls". Emil Salim
, all round good egg in my book for his economic nous and environmental credentials, is basically encouraging Rachmat (who?) to continue the efforts and initiatives started by Salim when he was Suharto's Minister for the Environment.Green legal expert Mas Achmad Santosa said the survey's results were not unexpected in a nation that put economic interests over environmental ones. This showed when the government was unwilling to prosecute big foreign companies for their damage to the environment.
It's the monetary
, rather than economic, interests which are prioritised. Sound economic interests are surely those which are sustainable. The wholesale destruction of the forests
by timber, palm oil and mining interests is purely for reasons of profit. The same can be said about the construction of apartment blocks and shopping malls in Indonesian cities. These are in favour of short-term profits but at the expense of green spaces.
There is no economic sense in short-term thinking. The environment is something we borrow from our children and it's clear from the survey that the public recognises this. Isn't it time for the political and business élite to come to terms with the rest of us?