An employee walking along a thermal pipe at the Kamojang geothermal
power plant near Garut, West Java, on March 18. State utility provider
 Perusahaan Listrik Negara is targeting an additional 135 megawatts of
electricity from three new geothermal plants. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,.. etc.)
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - (Text version)

“.. Nuclear Power Revealed

So let me tell you what else they did. They just showed you what's wrong with nuclear power. "Safe to the maximum," they said. "Our devices are strong and cannot fail." But they did. They are no match for Gaia.

It seems that for more than 20 years, every single time we sit in the chair and speak of electric power, we tell you that hundreds of thousands of tons of push/pull energy on a regular schedule is available to you. It is moon-driven, forever. It can make all of the electricity for all of the cities on your planet, no matter how much you use. There's no environmental impact at all. Use the power of the tides, the oceans, the waves in clever ways. Use them in a bigger way than any designer has ever put together yet, to power your cities. The largest cities on your planet are on the coasts, and that's where the power source is. Hydro is the answer. It's not dangerous. You've ignored it because it seems harder to engineer and it's not in a controlled environment. Yet, you've chosen to build one of the most complex and dangerous steam engines on Earth - nuclear power.

We also have indicated that all you have to do is dig down deep enough and the planet will give you heat. It's right below the surface, not too far away all the time. You'll have a Gaia steam engine that way, too. There's no danger at all and you don't have to dig that far. All you have to do is heat fluid, and there are some fluids that boil far faster than water. So we say it again and again. Maybe this will show you what's wrong with what you've been doing, and this will turn the attitudes of your science to create something so beautiful and so powerful for your grandchildren. Why do you think you were given the moon? Now you know.

This benevolent Universe gave you an astral body that allows the waters in your ocean to push and pull and push on the most regular schedule of anything you know of. Yet there you sit enjoying just looking at it instead of using it. It could be enormous, free energy forever, ready to be converted when you design the methods of capturing it. It's time. …”

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Haiti earthquake relief: How bamboo can help

Green Earth News, by Stacey Irwin on February 24, 2010

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude devastated the island nation of Haiti. The powerful quake collapsed over 250,000 residences, leaving roughly 1 million people homeless. The world itself shook with the impact of the relief effort. International aid agencies and private citizens responded with an outpouring of donations. The focus of the relief effort started to encompass both immediate needs such as food, water and medicine, and also the long-range planning of rebuilding Haiti from the ground up.

Bamboo, with its many uses, can play a role in the relief effort.

With commitments from INBAR (International Network of Bamboo and Rattan) and CBTC (Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre), the World Bamboo Organization and Generation Bambou are leading the way to mobilize the world of bamboo businesses and organizations with the goal of providing and promoting bamboo structures and plantations as part of the long-range relief effort focused on effective housing and economic stability.

The immediate benefit of using bamboo is found in the development of Bamboo Instant Houses. Developed in 2008 by a engineering professor in China in response to the Sichuan earthquake of that year, these modular structures can be built in less than 2 weeks and conform to United States’ building code standards for quake resistance (a huge benefit when dealing with aftershocks as high as 4.5 magnitude). The bamboo shelters are less expensive than the traditional building materials for shelters and unlike tents, they are more durable, insulated and offer a higher degree of protection from the elements.

Bamboo can also serve to build more permanent, earthquake safe structures on the island of Haiti. According to INBAR, one billion people around the world live in bamboo houses and with its tensile strength and favorable elastic qualities, buildings made from bamboo are excellent at withstanding earthquakes. When a 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit Costa Rica in 1992, all 30 bamboo houses in the epicenter survived intact.

Bamboo buildings would also introduce the concept of “green” living to the Haitian people. The highly sustainable plant grows without use of pesticides or fertilizers and can be harvested in 3-5 years versus the 10 -50 years needed for most hardwoods and softwoods to fully mature. Bamboo also has minimal impact on soil erosion as it is capable of regeneration without needing to be replanted. And because it can be grown and harvested locally and worked on with simple tools, it is also a cost-effective option for a country as poor as Haiti.

Bamboo can not only serve to put a roof over their heads, but also food on their tables. Across the globe, third world countries are using this valuable resource to bolster their economies. From housing to clothing to furniture to food, there are over a thousand ways to use bamboo to produce marketable goods. Haiti can ensure long-term viable economic growth by strategically planning for bamboo plantations on the island and placing the materials and means of production in the hands of the people who need it most. Bamboo is the potential cash crop that can put Haiti on the road to economic freedom.

The rebuilding of Haiti can be a renaissance of sustainability and economic development for the tiny island if the right steps are taken to rebuild. Using the exceptionally renewable, cost-effective and versatile bamboo plant is one step in that right direction.

For more on the global role of bamboo, visit Green Earth New’s section on Bamboo’s Worldwide Impact.

Related Articles:

Voodoo Practitioners Attacked at Ceremony for Haiti Dead

Indonesia Takes Tough Stand Over Exports of Toxic Trash

Jakarta Globe, Fidelis E Satriastanti, February 24, 2010

Kino, an electronics repairman, right, and his brother restoring a damaged television on Monday. E-waste will rise dramatically in the developing world within a decade, a recent UN study said. (Reuters Photo/Enny Nuraheni)

Nusa Dua, Bali. As wealthy countries eye developing ones as dumping grounds for their hazardous waste, little has been done by the Indonesian government 16 years since it ratified the international chemical waste treaty.

The agreement, also known as the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, seems to have been forgotten amid challenging climate change issues.

The State Ministry for the Environment said Indonesia had turned away a US shipment of hazardous waste at Tanjung Mas port in Semarang in November. The vessel was carrying nine containers of cathode ray tubes. The incident was widely reported abroad, but received little coverage by local news media.

CRT is a vacuum tube found mostly in computer and television sets. They are classified as hazardous under the Basel Convention.

Yuyun Ismawati, director of the BaliFokus Foundation, a Bali-based environmental group, said the Basel Convention was crucial because it was Indonesia’s only legal platform to prohibit dangerous waste from entering the country.

“The US containers case in November is a good example of how important this convention is,” Yuyun said.

She said that of the 22 official ports in the country, Batam and Wakatobi in Sulawesi were the main entry points for such materials from overseas.

Reports from the convention’s signatory nations suggest that there are at least 8.5 million tons of hazardous waste moving between countries each year.

Yuyun said to keep the archipelago from becoming a dumping ground for developed nations, the government must first ensure Indonesians understand the Basel accord.

“The convention is producing guidance in mostly complicated terms that commoners find hard to understand,” she said.

The Basel Convention, signed in 1989, was initially criticized by environmentalists for being too lenient. Activists, particularly those from Africa, called for a complete ban on the export of hazardous chemicals.

In 1995, the agreement was amended to mandate a complete ban, but was not legally binding because major signatories, such as Japan and the United States, refused to ratify it. Only 68 of the 172 signatory nations signed the amendment.

Imam Hendargo, the Environment Ministry’s deputy for the management of hazardous substances and waste, said there were difficulties in monitoring waste coming into the country, citing a lack of resources.

“And it is not that easy to monitor our vast coastal areas,” Imam said.

Jim Puckett, executive director of the Basel Ban Network, applauded the government for turning down the shipment in November.

He added, however, that the United States would not been penalized. “But this sends a strong signal back to the United States. Environmental protection agencies across the whole region are freaking out.”

He said that while all eyes were on climate-change issues, no one wanted to live in a contaminated world, where birth defects and cancer become epidemic.

“If we save ourselves from the climate but keep on contaminating our environment, it’s the same. We can’t ignore these issues while we work on climate change issues,” he said.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bandung Residents Fear More Flooding

Jakarta Globe, Wuryanti Pus, February 21, 2010

Residents being ferried home in Baleendah district in Bandung, capital of West Java, on Sunday. Thousands of houses in the area were inundated after heavy rain at the peak of the wet season caused the Citarum River to overflow. (Reuters Photo)

Black clouds began to fill the sky, a sign of coming rain, making people living on the banks of the Citarum River in Dayeuhkolot subdistrict, Bandung, anxious once again.

Staying in temporary shelters, they are concerned because a massive flood from the river two weeks ago has not yet entirely receded from their homes. Another downpour would wipe out their hope of being able to leave their temporary shelters and return to their homes.

According to data collected by local authorities, about 2,148 houses in three rural villages and one urban administrative unit were submerged after rain had been pouring in the area since Feb. 5.

There are 17,410 residents of the flooded area. As many as 800 had to evacuate to relatives’ homes or other neighboring flood-free houses. The deluge also submerged five mosques, five primary schools and four other public facilities.

Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono visited the location and witnessed firsthand the flood victims’ conditions.

Laksono said the government planned immediately to accelerate the Citarum River normalization project, which consists of dredging, straightening of the river’s course, and relocating the riverbank population to flood-free areas.

The project began about 10 years ago.

“At this moment there are about 1,400 hectares of land along the Citarum River that are always flooded when the river overflows, and it routinely occurs every year, but the area is shrinking, because 10 years ago it was 7,500 hectares,” Laksono said.

As part of the effort to accelerate the project, the central government through the Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare, Ministry of Public Works, and Ministry of Environment is to hold a meeting with the West Java provincial government this month. Laksono said he hoped the meeting would find the best solution for the acceleration of the normalization of the Citarum River.


Related Articles:

Landslide hits plantation area, hundreds affected

Mountain cracks in Garut district threatens local people

RI congratulated for rejecting e-waste from US

Antara News, Tuesday, February 23, 2010 02:14 WIB

Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA News) - The Basel Action Network has praised Indonesia for turning down nine containers of e-waste (electronic waste) from the United States last November 2009.

"Last night, I congratulated the Indonesian environmental affairs minister for the Indonesian authorities` diligent action," Jim Puckett, coordinator of Basel Action Network (BAN), said here on Monday.

Old computer monitors in the nine containers are considered hazardous e-waste for containing lead, he said when speaking to journalists attending a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Workshop on "Reporting Green - Environment as News".

He said e-waste was a problem which could poison the people. Some children working in electronic companies have lead in their blood which later could damage their brain. A similar problems could be found in China, India and Nigeria, he said.

The e-waste coming from Massachusetts was about to enter Semarang, Central Java, last November. But, thanks to a tip-off from BAN, the Indonesian authorities managed to foil the smuggling attempt.

In accordance with Indonesia`s law, hazardous import was banned, while for the US, which has not yet ratified the Basel Convention, the export was legal, he said.

Besides the US, Afghanistan and Haiti are yet to ratify the Basel Convention.

An attempt was made to dump used computer monitors in Indonesia because it was cheaper to export than recycle them, he said.

The sale of electronic products in countries like China and India and across continents such as Africa and Latin America are set to rise sharply in the next 10 years, according to UN experts in a landmark report released by UNEP in Nusa Dua, Monday (Feb. 22).

"And, unless action is stepped up to properly collect and recycle materials, many developing countries face the spectre of hazardous e-waste mountains with serious consequences for the environment and public health," according to the report.

Issued at a meeting of Basel Convention and other world chemical authorities prior to UNEP`s Governing Council meeting in Bali, the report "Recycling - from E-Waste to Resources" , used data from 11 representative developing countries to estimate current and future e-waste generation - which includes old and dilapidated desk and laptop computers, printers, mobile phones, pagers, digital photo and music devices, refrigerators, toys and televisions.

Nairobi-based UNEP is organizing "The Reporting Green Workshop" and "The Simaltaneous Extraordinary Meetings of the Conference of the Parties (COPs) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions", in Nusa Dua, from Feb. 22 to 26.

And on Feb. 24-26, UNEP will hold the 11th Special Session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, which is expected to be officially opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and attended by around 100 environment ministers from various countries.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Village Leaders Rally in Jakarta to Demand Rural Rights

Jakarta Globe, February 22, 2010

Thousands of village leaders staged a rally in front of the House of Representatives in Jakarta on Monday. (Antara Photo/Rosa Panggabean)

Thousands of village heads flocked to the House of Representatives building in Jakarta on Monday for a rally to demand a better deal for people from rural areas.

Grouped as the Nusantara Rural People’s Association (Parade Nusantara), the village heads from across the country demanded that 10 percent of the State Budget (APBN) be allocated for rural people.

“Some 78 percent of the Indonesian people live in rural areas, and therefore it is only reasonable for us to demand that 10 percent of the APBN be allocated for rural areas,” Parade Nusantara spokesman Sudin Santoso said in his oration.

The group also urged the House to pass a bill on rural development into law immediately.

“The funds we demand are not for us as village heads but for rural development,” Sudin said.

He added that the rural development funds were needed to provide the rural communities with job opportunities to improve the welfare of residents.

“If job opportunities are available in rural areas, our children do not need to move to the cities and towns to find jobs,” Sudin said.

Besides demanding 10 percent of the APBN for rural development, the Parade Nusantara also demanded that village heads’ terms in office be extended from six years to eight or ten years.

The peaceful rally at the parliament building was expected to continue until late in the afternoon.

“We will wait until our demands are met,” said Jono, a village head from the Karanganyar region in Central Java.

The demonstrating village heads left their respective villages on Sunday and arrived in Jakarta on Monday morning to stage their protest rally.

Miftah, a village head from Tegal, Central Java, said he left Tegal on Sunday evening and arrived in Jakarta on Monday morning.

“We left on Sunday evening and arrived here on Monday morning. After the rally this evening we will return to Tegal by night train,” Miftah said.


Friday, February 19, 2010

New Floodgate for Manggarai in Effort to Solve Capital's Wet Season Woes

Jakarta Globe, Camelia Pasandaran, February 19, 2010

A rescue team evacuating a mother and child after flooding struck Jakarta on Saturday. The Ciliwung River overflowed heavy rains in Bogor reached the area. (Reuters Photo)

The Jakarta and central governments agreed on Friday to tackle the problem of floods in the capital by building an additional floodgate.

“To reduce the water height at Manggarai, we plan to add one more floodgate,” said Pitoyo Subandrio, head of the Ministry of Public Works’ Ciliwung-Cisadane Agency, which oversees the flood canal.

There are presently two floodgates at Manggarai that were built between 1918 and 1923 by the Dutch government. During last weekend’s floods, the water level at the Manggarai gate had risen to 100 centimeters by noon on Saturday, but had returned to normal levels by 8 p.m.

Pitoyo claimed that even though the conditions had been better this year than during the 2007 flood, where the raised water levels continued for 72 hours, the government planned to carry out a long-term plan to try and improve the flood problem.

Pitoyo said that the project was expected to be completed by 2014, or at the end of current government’s term.

The additional floodgate will be located near the Manggarai tunnel. Pitoyo said that the existing road in the tunnel would be removed and replaced with a flyover above the train track located across the floodgate.

The effort will be integrated with other methods, including diverting the water flow of the Cipinang river to try and reduce the incidence of rising water levels in the Ciliwung river.

“We have discussed some thoughts on how to prevent possible floods in the Ciliwung river,” Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo said. “One of the ideas is to create interconnectivity between the Ciliwung river and the East Flood Canal. The Ciliwung river will be connected to the Cipinang river and the water will be directed to the flood canal. The capacity has been calculated to accomodate the excessive water.”

The connection will be made in Bidara Cina.

Fauzi Bowo added that the local government would remove housing along the river bank.

The central government and Jakarta administration are currently working to provide enough low-cost apartments to accommodate the 70,000 families that will have to be relocated.

Power from rubbish

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 17 February 2010 - 5:05pm, by Thijs Westerbeek van Eerten

All Amsterdam trams run on 'refuse power' as well as all the street lighting and even the electricity used in public buildings is waste-generated.

AEB, the energy company run by Amsterdam city council, is the biggest power plant in the world to be run entirely on waste. What's more; AEB claims it's the best of its kind because it gets nearly 50 percent more energy out of the waste than its competitors.

Because no fossil fuel, such as coal or gas, is needed for the production of all this power, the plant substantially reduces Amsterdam's CO2 emissions; 350,000 tonnes annually.

And there is one more bonus; because even the ashes from the ovens are recycled, for instance in building materials, only one percent of all Amsterdam's rubbish remains, making landfill sites virtually unnecessary.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

917m Asians Now Live in Extreme Poverty: Report

Jakarta Globe, February 17, 2010

A woman cleaning her child in a North Jakarta slum. According to the city’s Public Works Office data, 70 percent of the country is forced to wash in contaminated water. (Photo: Afriadi Hikmal, JG)

Manila. Seventeen million Asians have fallen into extreme poverty due to the global financial crisis, the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations said on Wednesday.

And another 4 million could this year slip into the same situation due to the effects of the slump, officials from the two organizations said launching a joint report on poverty alleviation here.

This is on top of the 900 million people in Asia who are already living in extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1.25 a day.

Asia had shown great progress in bringing people out of poverty in recent years, ADB vice president Ursula Schaefer-Preuss said. “But gains are being reversed due to the economic crisis,” she said.

UN Under-Secretary General Noeleen Heyzer said that people in the export and tourism sectors in Asia had lost and were still losing their jobs due to the crisis, which swept across the globe in late 2008.

Less foreign investment, aid and remittances from overseas workers were further hurting Asia’s poor, Heyzer said.

The report said more women, who form the majority of Asia’s low-skilled and temporary workforce, than men had been forced back into extreme poverty due to the crisis.

UN Assistant Secretary General Ajay Chhibber said the Asia-Pacific was doing quite well in areas such as infrastructure in achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals that are aimed at bringing people out of poverty.

“But it lags woefully behind in social issues,” he said.

Even Latin America and Eastern Europe had better “social protections” than Asia such as pensions and unemployment insurance, Chhibber said.

Only 2 percent to 3 percent of gross domestic product in Asia goes to such social protections, he said, adding that this figure should ideally be 4 percent to 6 percent.

This meant large numbers of Asians could fall back into poverty during the crisis or even during natural disasters, he said.

The report said the could protect itself from future crises though regional cooperation. “Regional cooperation would also be particularly valuable for the trade in food, and could include grain banks that are maintained in each country but readily accessible to others.”

Expanding Asian “monetary and financial coordination would be particularly useful to reduce external shocks such as with the global financial crisis.

Asian nations could consider diversifying their export markets to become less dependent on demand from the West, the joint report advised.

“By lowering trade barriers and creating more opportunity for the Asia-Pacific region to invest within itself, there can be a greater insulation against such crisis in the future.”


East Flood Canal residents free from flooding

Indah Setiawati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 02/17/2010 5:29 PM

Residents near East Flood Canal in East Jakarta have been enjoying a free-flood neighborhood after the operation by the government of the almost-finish canal since end of last year.

Cipinang Muara resident Hadiyati, 40, whose house is located around 20 meters from the canal, said that she and her family experienced no flood this year thanks to the newly constructed canal.

“In previous years, we would have had water level of up to two meters in height inundating our homes during the rainy season,” she said on Wednesday as quoted by

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Flood hit Jakarta areas

The Jakarta Post, Sat, 02/13/2010 8:00 AM, Jakarta

Annual flood: People living on the bank of Ciliwung River, Bukit Duri Utara, Kampung Melayu, East Jakarta evacuate their belongings on Saturday after floodwaters from the river inundate their houses.

Slide show: Annual flood

Water from the overflowing Ciliwung River has inundates a number of areas in South and East Jakarta since early in the morning on Saturday.

News portal has reported that residential areas in Bidaracina, South Jakarta and Kampung Pulo, Kampung Melayu in East Jakarta have been flooded.

Most of the residents in the area have taken refuge following flood warning by the city administration earlier on Friday night.

The administration had warned residents living along certain river banks in the city to be alert about the level of water in Katulampa water gate in Bogor, West Java, which reached 250 centimeters at 6 a.m. on Friday. It was classified as the first warning level.

The city's Public Works Agency said that flood might hit areas in Rawajati, Kalibata, Pengadegan, Kebon Baru and Bidaracina in South Jakarta and Kampung Melayu, Bukit Duri and Jati Pinggir in East Jakarta.

Separately, Jakarta Social Affairs Agency said it has prepared 10,000 food packages for the refugees. The agency also said it had set up temporary tents and two medical posts, along with 10 ambulances.

Related Articles:

Flood damages 716 houses in Bogor

More Rain Expected As Flood Waters Rise in East Jakarta

Friday, February 12, 2010

Jakarta to Begin Turning Garbage Into Electricity at Bantar Gebang Next Month

Jakarta Globe, Arientha Primanita, February 11, 2010

A scavenger wading through a sea of rubbish in search of recyclables at the 125-hectare Bantar Gebang garbage dump. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

The Bantar Gebang integrated waste-treatment facility in Bekasi is scheduled to begin testing its electricity generating capacity next month, the Jakarta Sanitation Agency said on Thursday.

Eko Baruna Subroto, the agency’s head, said in a panel discussion about the capital’s waste and flood problems that the facility would start by generating two megawatts of electricity from the methane released by the waste on March 8.

“The two megawatts of power produced from the waste treatment facility will be the first part of the total targeted production of 26 megawatts,” he said.

Eko said the facility, the first of its kind in the country, would begin generating its 26 MW capacity next year.

The March 8 trial launch will be attended by Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo, Bekasi Mayor Mochtar Mohammad and Minister for Public Works Djoko Kirmanto, among other officials.

Fauzi and Mochtar last year signed an agreement for Jakarta to use the Bantar Gebang landfill site for the next 20 years. In return, Bekasi would receive a site-usage fee of Rp 103,000 ($11) per ton of garbage from the Jakarta administration.

Two private companies, PT Godang Tua Jaya and PT Navigat Organik Energi Indonesia, manage the Bantar Gebang dump.

Bantar Gebang uses gasification technology and landfill and aerobic digestion waste management. The technology produces material for composting and harvests the expended gas for the biomethane electricity-generating system.

Eko said about 70 percent of Jakarta’s 6,500 tons of daily garbage were taken to Bantar Gebang landfill, with the rest going to the Sunter dump.

He said he hoped the garbage processed at Bantar Gebang would fall to 3,000 tons a day by 2012 and 2,000 tons a day by 2023.

New dump sites in Ciangir, Tangerang, and Marunda, North Jakarta, are planned to absorb some of the excess from Bantar Gebang.

Eko said an agreement between Jakarta and Tangerang finalizing the Ciangir site would be signed next month, with a tender process for its management begun soon after.

Eko said on Thursday that the Ciangir dump would be opened in early 2011, despite reports that the site would begin operations in the middle of this year.

The Marunda site will also be managed privately, with an initial investment of Rp 600 billion. It is planned to be opened by 2012.

The site is located on 12 hectares in the Special Economic Zone in Marunda, and the facility there will use technology similar to Bantar Gebang’s.

Muhammad Sanusi, a city councilor from Commission D, which oversees development, said the council supported the new waste-treatment facilities to help handle the capital’s ever-increasing waste problems.

He said he especially supported the Marunda site because it would be the first to be wholly owned by the city.

“With independent management, the city can implement and decide on the technology needed to handle the waste problems,” Sanusi said.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Be prepared for 2012 solar storm, scientists warn

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 02/11/2010 10:53 AM

Scientists have forecast a solar storm may occur sometime in 2012 and reportedly its impact can include power outages and mobile phone malfunction.

Clara Y Yatini, of the National of Aeronautics and Space’s (LAPAN) Solar and Space Division, said activity on the sun’s surface might increase in 2012, causing magnetic storms to hurl energy particles toward earth.

“The energy released from a flare is equal to 100 million hydrogen bombs,” Clara said in Jakarta on Tuesday.

She explained that flares would likely affect satellites, telecommunication towers, power grids and global positioning system (GPS) equipment.

“You should not trust your GPS device during the storm,” Clara said.

The solar flare may disrupt data transfer via electronic devices, she said, adding that it could also cause blackouts as large as those that occurred in Sweden, Denmark and Italy in 2003.

“A blackout in one region can have a global impact.

“This may impact businesses such as those in the finance industry, for example.”

Satellites will suffer the most, she said. “Flares can reduce a satellite’s age by 50 percent if they are strong enough.”

Astronaut and spaceship safety may also be threatened by powerful geomagnetic storms, the scientist added.

The magnetic storms, a 11-year cycle in sun activity, will last for about one or two hours, but their impact can last for about one or two days.

Nevertheless, researchers cannot tell the exact day the infernal storm will occur.

“The latest release from NASA said it can only predict the storm a week before,” Clara said.

Elly Kuntjahyowati, from the Communications Bureau of LAPAN, said her agency had intensely monitored the sun’s activity to detect explosions or storms.

“We will inform companies about possible explosions, such as [state electricity company] PLN, that may be affected by solar activity,” she said.

LAPAN is currently building a warning system to inform institutions such as the military and PLN about potentially harmful sun storms.

Scientists say the sun’s surface is constantly unstable because of its unequal magnetic rotations.

The earth is protected by a magnetosphere from space “weather”, but the effects from several solar phenomena may go beyond protective layers, given certain interplanetary magnetic fields positions, Clara said.

In March 1989, a power outage due to sun storms occurred in Quebec, Canada.

In April 2001, sun storms harmed several military and communication satellites.

Suwono, head of the post sales division at telecommunication company Indosat, was not worried about the scientists’ prediction, saying the solar storm would only affect certain parts of the company’s coverage areas, which use satellites.

“We mostly use [underground] fiber optic cables,” he said.

But there were possibilities sun storms may affect data transfer through fiber optic cables, he added.

Suwono said Indosat had deployed special disaster data recovery systems to deal with possible data loss due to natural phenomena.

Indosat said signal disruption due to solar activity was nothing new to the industry.

“Often we experience sun interference when the sun’s signals overpower satellite’s.

“Such interference could cause signal disruption lasting one or two minutes.”

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Our beloved rivers of waste

Alexandra Hansen, Contributor The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 02/09/2010 11:40 AM

Home by the river: Residents perform various house chores in their homes located along the Ciliwung River in Jakarta. Millions of people rely on the river for their daily water needs. JP/Ricky Yudhistira

Standing on the bank on one of Jakarta’s many rivers, the experience is much the same across the board. Nothing you would hope for in a river is present in the city’s 13 main canals.

Clear water, the peaceful babble, trees and native flora lining the bed, native wildlife in and around the water and children paddling amongst the leaves have all been replaced by rubbish, disease-causing bacteria and pollution.

Standing on the edge of any of Jakarta’s canals is saddening; what once would have been a beautiful and serene place, is now a bed of pollution and the cause of illnesses such as typhoid, dysentery, cholera, E.coli-poisoning and amoebiasis.

So what has caused the rivers to become so polluted, and the water so unusable?

We have.

Many factors lead to water pollution of this extent, one of the main ones being sewage.

The water canals in Jakarta are largely used to flush human sewage, increasing the level of E.coli in the water, thus making it unfit for human consumption.

The nitrates and phosphates found in sewage, and in fertilizers, also lead to an over-stimulation in the growth of aquatic plants such as algae. An excess of algae clogs up the waterways, uses up dissolved oxygen as it decomposes, and blocks light to deeper waters. This in turn is very harmful to aquatic organisms such as fish, as it inhibits their respiratory ability.

Another factor contributing to water pollution is the large amount of rubbish and waste deposited into the river by inhabitants of the riverside.

All of the above are known as municipal pollution, pollution caused by homes and commercial establishments.

Add to those factors industrial pollution. Large amounts of industrial waste are deposited into the river system every day, allowing hazardous substances to flow freely in our precious water.

Garbage river: Two workers comb through garbage in the Ciliwung River. The piles of garbage found in the river contribute to the city’s annual flood problem. JP/P.J. Leo

Last, but not least, agriculture plays a significant role in polluting rivers. The erosion caused by crops devastates the river systems, and is the leading cause of water pollution in countries such as the US.

Chandra Samekto, a project officer for the Citarum River, says the problems are widespread and caused by many different factors.

“For the Citarum River especially, the problem is quite serious. This river is integral to Jakarta’s water supply and is a very strategic source to all of West Java.”

One of the main tasks of the Citarum project is to identify why the condition of the river is degrading, and what can be done to improve the situation.

“We have spent a lot of time researching and identifying the problems in the Citarum River, and have discovered that each segment has a different problem. For example, upstream, the problems are caused by industry. Adjacent to the river is a coal treatment plant, and the waste from materials used to treat the coal is dumped into the river. In the middle section of the river however, the main problem has to do with people’s sanitation habits. They dump waste and garbage, which is detrimental to the water quality.”

When asked whether the situation has improved recently, Samekto says the results are not promising.

“We definitely think the situation is getting worse.”

He adds it is very important we address the problem, and put more effort into improving the quality of the rivers, and in turn, the water quality in Indonesia, as the quality of the water could be a limiting factor to Indonesia’s economic development.

Double work: A woman washes clothes while taking care of her child on a wooden pontoon along the Ciliwung River. JP/P.J. Leo

“It is important that we as a society recognize the problem, and realize it is worsening, as perhaps this way people will make an effort to improve it.”

The Citarum River project has up to 80 plans in motion to improve the river, with an estimated cost of Rp 45 trillion (US$4.8 billion).

Plans include new water treatment facilities, water site management strategies, upstream conditioning and septic tanks.

Also included in their plans is System Rice Intensification (SRI), a program aimed at using less water when cultivating rice crops, for the same or better yield of crop.

In conjunction with these plans, it is important people do their bit in caring for their rivers and water canals.

“People do care,” says Samekto.

“But they need to collaborate with us, and replicate our actions. We hope to get support from everyone, and become a movement of sorts. If everyone knows the issues involved, if people realize the problem, we can help them change their behavior, and change [the behavior of] companies.

“The only way to do this is by creating awareness, by educating people. For example, a simple step to take is to stop littering in the rivers, dispose of your rubbish carefully,” he says.

The message is simple, and is known the world over, yet it seems somehow more difficult in practice.

“Yes, it is easy to see, but it will take more time to change people’s behavior.”