Fri, 06 Jun 2003

Another garbage crisis on the horizon

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Jakarta residents might face more garbage problems with the scheduled closure of the 104-hectare Bantar Gebang dump in Bekasi mayoralty at the end of this year as the city does not seem ready to handle the 6,000 tons of garbage it produces daily.

Governor Sutiyoso said on Thursday the city administration would be ready to handle the closure of Bantar Gebang, where most of the garbage produced by Jakarta is dumped.

But data on dump sites and garbage management facilities at the city sanitation agency shows that there is still a lot of work to do before the city is able to process all of its own garbage.

"I have ordered the city sanitation agency to manage the garbage by using the proper technology. They said that they could do it," Sutiyoso told reporters at the National Monument (Monas) park while attending the observance of World Environment Day.

Sutiyoso was asked to comment on what the city administration would do after the closure of Bantar Gebang dump site by in six more months.

City Hall spokesman Achyat M. Awe revealed that the city administration was in the process of beginning to prepare three dump sites, one in Jonggol, Bogor, West Java; another in Duri Kosambi, West Jakarta; and one in Cilincing, East Jakarta.

Quoting data at the city sanitation agency, Achyat said the Jonggol dump site, which will use ball press technology and be managed by PT Wira Golvindo, will be able to process some 2,000 tons of garbage per day.

While the garbage management facility in Duri Kosambi, which will transform the trash into bio-fertilizer, is expected to accommodate some 1,000 tons of garbage per day. This facility will be managed by PT Interindo Global.

And another dump site in Cilincing, which will also be operated by PT Wira Golvindo and will also use the ball press technology, is expected to accommodate some 1,000 tons per day.

Achyat said that 80 percent of the construction of the three garbage management facilities have been completed and they are expected to be ready by early 2004, after Bantar Gebang will be closed.

Achyat said the city is now seeking private partners to manage the rest of some 2,000 tons of garbage, which would not be able to be accommodated at the other three sites.

Achyat's data is based on the latest report of the head of the city sanitation agency, Salamat Limbong, to the governor.

"It is better if I do not comment on it (Bantar Gebang closure) as I have made a report to the governor," said Limbong, who is the official most responsible for the garbage.

Jakarta first began using the Bantar Gebang dump in 1986. An official agreement was signed by Jakarta and Bekasi in 1999, which required Jakarta to repair any environment damage and pay compensation of Rp 1 billion in 2000. In the next year, the city paid compensation of Rp 2.5 billion.

In December 2001, however, Bekasi closed its dump site due to the environmental damage. As a result, Jakarta was hit by a garbage crisis as most of the waste was left to pile up on street corners and neighborhoods throughout the city.

A week later, Bekasi reopened the dump.

It was not until President Megawati Soekarnoputri and State Minister for Environment Nabiel Makarim intervened that both parties later agreed to sign another agreement in January 2002 for the extension of the use of Bantar Gebang dump site. Jakarta agreed to pay Rp 14 billion (US$1.4 million) and build various facilities including a community health center and a water pipeline in three villages of Bantar Gebang district: Ciketing Udik, Cikiwul and Sumur Batu.