Community Activism in Indonesia 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



In the last five years, asbestos consumption in Indonesia has nearly trebled from 40,542 tonnes in 2006 to 111,848 tonnes in 2010, making Indonesia the world's fifth biggest market for chrysotile (white) asbestos. Recognizing the risks to public and occupational health posed by asbestos usage, in 2009 the Indonesian Ban Asbestos Network (Ina-Ban) was established.1 Through collaboration with social partners, Ina-Ban has worked to quantify the country's asbestos problems, develop campaigns to raise awareness of the hazards and progress efforts to secure a national ban.2

On July 21, 2011 months of preparation, consultation and discussion culminated when 25 groups of participants from 15 schools in Bandung Raya took part in an “Asbestos Danger Media Competition” which was held on the campus of a senior high school in West Bandung. This drawing contest was organized by Ina-Ban and the Indonesian Red Cross-West Bandung. At the beginning of the day's activities, the contestants, who had previously been informed about asbestos through class discussions, receipt of flyers and via social media sites, took part in an information session during which they confirmed the presence of asbestos in their daily life – as roofing material or well coverings.

At the end of the discussions, the entrants were given drawing materials and five hours to make a poster with an asbestos theme. At the end of the allotted time, the posters were displayed and judged by representatives from the school, Ina-Ban and the Indonesian Red Cross; prizes were awarded to the winning teams.


Winners of Junior High School Level – Atsauri-Islamic Junior High School


Winners of Senior High School Level – Arrafah-Islamic Senior High School

Follow-up activities will include the printing and distribution to the schools of the posters as well as debriefing sessions with participants and sponsoring groups.

Throughout the Summer (2011) another competition is taking place aimed at older students and members of the public. As with the competition discussed above, the Asbestos Photographic Competition is being conducted in stages dedicated to: raising awareness of the asbestos danger, exploring measures to minimize hazards and producing photographic images to educate the public. On September 18, 2011 the winner will be announced at a ceremony to be held at the end of an asbestos seminar in Bandung. News of this competition is now being disseminated via the web, facebook, flyers and posters, and potential entrants are registering their interest in taking part. Ina-Ban continues to work with social partners to ensure that asbestos is a topic addressed at meetings being held to progress public and occupational health issues.

Commenting on the day's activities, Ina-Bn representative Muchamad Darisman said:

“Hazardous exposures to asbestos, are unfortunately, a fact of life in Indonesia today. Companies and government agencies do not acknowledge the risks nor do they help people avoid them. The feedback today from the children and teachers in attendance was very positive. We hope that working with them, we will help raise public awareness so that asbestos use in Indonesia will become a topic for national debate.”



Juniors with banner: Save our Generation from the Dangers of Asbestos



Seniors with banner: Save our Generation from the Dangers of Asbestos

July 25, 2011


1 Members of Ina-Ban include health and safety activists, environmental campaigners, trade unionists and representatives from non-governmental organizations such as Local Initiatives on OSH Network, Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI), the Federation of Construction, Informal and General Workers Union (FKUI-SBSI), the Sedane Information Institute, the MOTHER Foundation and Habitat for Humanity, Indonesia.

2 Kazan-Allen L. Raising Asbestos Awareness in Indonesia. April 19, 2011.
Kazan-Allen L. Asbestos Action in Indonesia. October 27, 2010.



       Home   |    Site Info   |    Site Map   |    About   |    Top↑