TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Bintan District police have curbed all illegal sand mining sites in Galang Batang and Malang Rapat areas of Gunung Kijang Subdistrict in Riau Islands Province.
"There are no more illegal sand miners in the areas," Bintan Police Chief Adjunct Sen.Coms.Boy Herlambang told journalists in Bintan on Sunday.
The local police had enforced law against the illegal sand miners in the areas since four days ago in which their equipment for sucking the sand had been confiscated.
Accompanied by the neigborhood leaders, the local police officers enforced the law against those running the illegal sand mining sites, he said.
The on-duty policemen found two large mining sites which had ponds. As part of the law enforcement, the police officers sealed them.
According to several workers at the illegal mining sites, the sand was sucked from the ponds to be then loaded to trucks.
Herlambang quoted the Gunung Kijang subdistrict administration's data as revealing that there are 26 sand miners in Galang Batang and Malang Rapat's areas.
The illegal mining activities have often been blamed to contribute to the causes of environmental damages which result in landslides and flash floods in various parts of Indonesia.
In this context, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) highlighted the importance of curbing illegal gold mining activities to help prevent the recurrence of natural disasters in the future.
During his visit to Banjar Irigasi Village in Lebak Gedong Subdistrict, Lebak District, Banten Province, on January 7, 2020, President Jokowi instructed the local authority to put a halt to the illegal gold mining.
He argued that the illegal mining activities had fueled deforestation in Banten Province to avoid the relapse of flash floods in future.
"In Lebak District, Banten, we can see forest encroachment for illegal mining. I have ordered the governor and district head to stop this," Jokowi remarked in Banjar Irigasi Village, Lebak Gedong Sub-district, in Banten on Jan. 7.
Flash floods that struck Lebak District on Wednesday (Jan. 1) claimed 10 lives and damaged 19 schools in six districts in addition to wrecking 1,410 houses.