Late January this year, Jakarta faced one of the worst floods in decades. In the waterlogged streets of the Indonesian Capital was lost the deep seated malaise that led to this environmental disaster.
Indonesia has reduced its lush green tropical rainforest at an alarming pace. The corrupt politico-economic system in the country has ensured that 40% of the forests that existed in 1950 have been cleared. The rate of this loss has been more than alarming. It has been estimated that the rate of deforestation has accelerated from 1 million hectares per year in the 1980s to around 2 million hectares in 2006.
Indonesia's forests, that are rich in timber resources, have been the worst target of timber companies and plantations that are mostly owned by multinationals. Logging concessions that have been awarded to political cronies have ensured that sustainability remains the last option in anyone's agenda. Similar aggressive pitching for paper and pulp industries among others for boosting Indonesia's exports has ensured heavy destruction of the forest land. Illegal deforestation and tree felling have similarly led to the estimated destruction of around 10 million hectares of Indonesian forests.
Indonesia might have gained, short term, in boosting its revenue as well as it's exports but the greed is saddeningly having a terrible after-effect. Massive floods and mudslides might then just be the premonition. The real disaster might yet come.