In the face of worsening pollution of Bali's rivers and seas, local authorities have brought to court and heavily fined 23 cloth dyeing operations located along Denpasar's river banks, promising that a further 185 companies are slated for a police crackdown in the near future.
The fines already imposed by Denpasar's courts at an average Rp. 5 million (approximately US$544) per company are among the highest ever imposed on the small enterprises who dye batik and sarong cloth for sale to tourists in local shops.
The head of Denpasar Administrative Police (Pamong Praja) told the Indonesian-language DenPost that his office would pull no punches nor offer any quarter to the remaining 185 illegal dyeing companies guilty of polluting the City's rivers and operating without the required licenses.
The initial 23 companies who were brought to the court and charged with criminal misdemeanors were all held by authorities and only released after their fines were paid.
The imposition of the maximum fine allowable was widely protested by the small textile firms who claimed their punishment was both selective and onerous. Authorities have responded claiming that their enforcement program was ongoing and that those punished by the courts had received numerous warnings from enforcement teams in the past.
In the course of the crackdown dyes, pumps and dyeing equipment were seized to be used as evidence by the police who also cited a number of workers at the facilities for failure to hold local identity cards as required by law.
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