Asia Pulp & Paper Partners with Science Community to Help Solve Clean Water Shortages in Indonesia

Feb 20, 2012

Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) announced its partnership with the Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) Indonesia - LIPI on a major community based water treatment project in the heart of Sumatra that may potentially provide clean and safe water to millions of people in Indonesia. MAB Indonesia - LIPI is part of the global UNESCO-led Man and Biosphere programme, which is designed to develop Indonesian Biosphere Reserves by promoting a balanced inter-relationship between people and nature, to help improve the overall welfare of the Indonesian people.

The project, now in its pilot stage, could help create locally based water treatment systems to address the problem of limited access to clean water endured by communities in remote parts of Indonesia. The Indonesian Government has already identified better access to clean water for its citizens as one of its Millennium Development Goals, to be achieved by 2015, but clean water problems still exist in lowland forest areas, where water contains high levels of unhealthy materials.
However, the water treatment project is just the first stage of a long term plan to develop the bio-village concept in the Giam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu (GSK-BB) Biosphere Reserve, in Riau province, Sumatra, where communities are encouraged to systematically manage their natural resources in a more sustainable, balanced manner. The next stages will involve the economic development of communities, to be achieved through skills training in agriculture, food production and fishing.
Aida Greenbury, Managing Director, Sustainability & Stakeholder Engagement, APP, said: “By helping address the basic needs of communities, we are helping people to use natural resources in a more sustainable way. Water is one of the world’s most vital natural resources and it is becoming an increasingly limited commodity. This project will help to address the ongoing clean water shortages experienced by millions of Indonesians.”
“But, more importantly, this entire initiative will limit the depletion of natural resources by showing how communities can live and prosper by using the resources at their disposal in a sustainable, integrated fashion. We also believe that this is the kind of collaboration that needs to exist, between the public and private sectors, and the scientific community, to help advance the interests of our country’s citizens,” she added.
Prof. Dr. Ir. Y. Purwanto, Programme Director, MAB Indonesia – LIPI, said: “The target outcome for this project is to provide alternative technologies for the provision of clean, usable water among communities around the GSK-BB Biosphere Reserve. The availability of clean water will be essential for development of the bio-village concept in the GSK-BB reserve, and elsewhere.”
In the current pilot stage of the project, a team of scientists from MAB Indonesia and the Research Center for Limnology-Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), supported by APP, are working with members of the community in and around the GSK-BB Biosphere Reserve to install water purification systems that can transform peat water into water that is fit for human use.
At present, the main source of water for villagers in the area can be hazardous for human consumption. The project is being piloted in Tanjung Leban, an area in the GSK-BB reserve. The units have been produced based on a design from Research Center for Limnology-LIPI and MAB Indonesia.
Following the installation of the units, members of the local community will be trained in their use and maintenance. Each unit can produce up to 60 liters of potable water per minute, sufficient to provide an ongoing supply for approximately 100 families.
APP has taken on the partnership as part of its broader sustainability programme that aims to positively impact the communities and regions in which it operates. MAB Indonesia is managed by the Government and structurally is attached to the office of the Deputy of the Life Sciences of the LIPI.

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