Permit Issues Trigger Floods

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Rainy season is in its peak now and it causes more flood disasters in almost each region of Indonesia. The idea of floods as disasters sounds as if it is justifying that floods are the act of God or what we usually consider as fate. This idea should be reviewed, realized and understood that floods are accumulation of deeds by humans that are always lacking, lacking of insights on the bad effects of dumping garbage in the rivers, lacking space for shelter so they build establishment by the rivers, lacking more water permeable area, lacking of comprehension on the permit regulation with its environmental requirements in building establishment and other lacking qualities of them.

In fact, laws, regulations and decrees issued by central or regional government could be instruments preventing pollution and/or environmental destruction. Law No. 32/2009 on Environmental Protection and Management stated that instruments to environmental pollution and /or destruction prevention consists of some elements. Some of them are Environmental Protection and Management Plan (RPPLH), Strategic Environmental Assessment(KLHS), Spatial Plan (RTRW), Quality Standard of the Environment (BML), Environmental Impact Analysis (AMDAL), Environmental Management and Monitoring Programs (UKL-UPL), permits, retributions/taxes, environmental based laws, environmental risk analysis and other instruments necessary.

RTRW is a regent/city spatial plan which its formulation based on RPPLH as the planning documents which contains environmental potentials, issues as well as protection and management efforts in a specific period of time. Elaboration on RTRW was include in regional regulation on Detailed Urban Spatial Plan (RDTRK) and zoning regulations used as the foundation in managing utilization of an area. Based on Law No. 23/2014 on Local Government, the local government has the authority to manage main issues of environmental and spatial plan. Authority is one factor of authenticity of government and regional government in performing its tasks and functions as the authority scopes include management, permit and law enforcement.

Generally, people always say that floods happen routinely every year are caused by high rainfall thus rivers overflow and sea level rises. This idea sounds like a cover for the real causes, constriction and shallowing rivers as well as the lack of water permeable area.

Local government has regulations preventing floods
Every regency/city has regulations on RTRW, RDTRK and IMB. In those regulations, there are obligations, prohibitions, permissions and dispensations for an individual/organization which utilize an area as housing complex, industrial complex, and trading area has to possess a permit which required environmental documents as reference on environmental planning and management (AMDAL/UKL-UPL).

AMDAL/UKL-UPL formulation needs time and money. It makes government provide service which processes permit and environmental documents’ formulation simultaneously. This service which is initially meant to create more conducive business atmosphere, has diverted the objectives and concepts of environmental documents.

Environmental documents’ formulation is an analysis on substantial impacts of planned business or activity in the environment. So the documents are necessary for issuing the permit. As stated in the environmental documents, the permit holder is obliged to fulfill the obligations included in AMDAL/UKL-UPL.

Therefore, if the permit holder violates the obligations, law enforcement will be conducted. When the formulation of environmental documents is processed simultaneously with the permit process, it will make the obligations on environmental management and control as well as on the permit holder obligations be generally formulated. It will give opportunity for violation and difficulties to its control and law enforcement.

The weakness in law enforcement
Businessmen have to spend more money to hire an expert for environmental documents’ formulation. It is one of the reasons why the documents’ formulation is not popular. On the other hand, the documents are important instruments to get permit. They are used to assess and consider the permit issuance, and to provide recommendations for the businessmen to prevent environmental pollution and/or destruction.

Another issue on permit policy which weaken permit’s preventive role exists on its control management. The authority of control and law enforcement is closely related to the authority of permit management and its issuance. But with the government policy which eases up the permit process in the form of One Stop Integrated Service (PTSP), permit is issued by permit agency while control and law enforcement was conducted by technical working unit (SKPD) or the Civil Service Police Unit.

This policy on one hand eases the public or businessmen to get permit, but on the other hand divides the control and law enforcement authority, thus weakens its implementation.
The weakening will happen as the control institution does not have the accurate data on the issued permit. There is not harmony and coordination between permit issuer and related technical SKPD and the Civil Service Police Unit.

This control and law enforcement weakness means that local government has let it happen and does not consider this as violations. So, the permit holders do not feel guilty and there are nothing done to change them.

Some violations done by housing complex developers are their failure in making irrigation system or higher foundation of houses than regulated and they are rarely supervised by the government. It will be obviously seen after the houses are inhabited and it causes floods to other housing complex. If adjustments are made, they will cause conflicts. This condition is an external factor which weakens law enforcement, especially administrative law enforcement.

In area utilization, the public should be educated that its permit, IMB and environmental documents are legitimate efforts and instruments to prevent environmental pollution and/or destruction. They are not merely governments’ instruments to increase regional revenues (PAD). In addition, better commitment from the government to follow the regulations and good governance principles in issuing permits. If their issuance is not based on those two things, then according to Law No. 30/2014 on State Administration, the officials can be demanded responsibilities for authority abuse. (*)

This post is also available in: Indonesian

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