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Indonesian archbishop calls for environmental conversion

Unchecked pollution, deforestation have strained country's tropical forests

Published: May 31, 2016 09:40 AM GMT

Updated: May 31, 2016 09:41 AM GMT

Indonesian archbishop calls for environmental conversion

Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta called on Catholics to love, protect and respect the planet and nature, as outlined in Pope Francis' last encyclical Laudato si'.

Undergoing a conversion in favor of the environment "as Pope Francis constantly says is not only a moral duty for every Christian, but is also an urgency for all Indonesians," the archbishop said in a pastoral letter released to coincide with World Environment Day scheduled for June 5, AsiaNews reported.

"The Catholic Church to which we all belong has to answer the plea through action and its own conduct," the archbishop said.

In Indonesia, unchecked pollution and deforestation have put the country's tropical forests under enormous strain. This is especially true on the islands of Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua.

According to a report by Forest Watch Indonesia. At least 10 million acres of forests have been lost since 2000 with much of the damage caused by deforestation for palm oil production.

The land has also suffered from pollution caused by mining waste dumped into rivers, the prelate said.

In Jakarta, the situation is no less complicated. The city's factories and vehicles have made the air unbreathable.

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