After a series of coal-slurry spills into the Malinau River in Indonesian Borneo, locals and environmental groups are calling for tougher sanctions, and for national banks to divest from the coal industry. The latest spill in February at a facility operated by PT Kayan Putra Utama Coal (KPUC) in North Kalimantan province killed thousands of fish and forced downstream municipalities to cut off their water supplies. The government of Malinau district in North Kalimantan immediately issued a decree requesting that the company repair embankments, establish a system of inspections, develop a rapid response plan, and replace the dead fish. The company itself apologized, pledging to provide clean water and reseed the river with fish and shrimp larvae. However, the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam), a watchdog group, says these steps are not enough to exact reform. “This is not a sanction but a recommendation,” said Andri Usman of Jatam. KPUC was in 2017 required to shut down its operations for 60 days following a similar spill by another miner in the same region. That company, along with KPUC and two others, subsequently signed an agreement that if another spill occurred, their mining licenses would be revoked. “The 2017 sanctions are heavier than now, while the current impact is more severe than the 2017 case,” Usman said. Dead fish collected by locals from the polluted Malinau River. Image courtesy of Rosiena Kila. Jatam suggested the light penalty is linked to the fact that one of KPUC’s owners is a prominent businessman who…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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