Dutch accused of dumping chemicals in Jakarta

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Indonesia's Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo has accused the Netherlands and the United Kingdom of violating the Basel Convention against the dumping of chemical waste.

The minister told reporters on Saturday that customs had impounded 113 containers of hazardous and toxic waste at the port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, according to a report in the Jakarta Post.

The Dutch and British governments "should have reported the shipments to Indonesia because they contained hazardous and toxic waste" under the terms of the Basel agreement, which has been in force since 1992. The 89 British and 24 Dutch containers contained mainly scrap metal contaminated with poisonous chemicals.

The Jakarta government has said it will notify the British and Dutch embassies of the find, demanding an explanation for the incompleteness of the shipload's documents. The owner of the PT HHS company which attempted to import the scrap metal into Indonesia could face a 15-year jail sentence if found guilty, Environment Minister Balthasar Kombuaya said.

(rk)

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