Thu, 31 Jul 2003

Bojong residents raise stink over garbage dump

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

For the second time, villagers from Bogor regency rallied at City Hall and the City Council building against plans to build a garbage treatment facility in Bojong village.

Four hundred villagers arrived in nine buses to protest the construction of the facility, owned by PT Wira Gulfindo Sarana. Once completed, the facility would be able to treat 1,500 tons of garbage every day.

"Don't dump garbage in our village. We don't want to become victims like the people of Bantar Gebang," read one of the dozens of banners displayed by the protesters.

The banner referred to the dispute over a dump in Bantar Gebang. People living near the site have complained of the environmental damage caused by the dump, which is scheduled to be closed by the end of this year.

The protesters also dumped garbage on the grounds of City Hall on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan and City Council on Jl. Kebon Sirih, both in Central Jakarta.

Lilies, 45, whose house would be located adjacent to the planned waste treatment facility, said most people in the area had been told by officials of PT Wira Gulfindo Sarana that the land would be used for a tile factory.

Ujang, 25, said he had been paid Rp 100,000 (US$11.80) by village officials for signing a blank paper that eventually was turned into a petition supporting the garbage treatment facility.

"They said the money was a gift from Pak Rahmat, the factory owner. We believed everything they said," he told The Jakarta Post during the protest.

The secretary of the Communication Forum for Environmental Care, Triyasa Cahya Putra, said the villagers were at the City Council because their complaints to the Bogor legislative council and the Bogor regency administration had not received a positive response.

"We come to tell you that the people of Bojong do not want garbage from Jakarta," he told City Council Commission D for developmental affairs.

The proposed garbage treatment facility in Bojong would help replace the Bantar Gebang dump.

A similar protest against the project took place in June, involving 500 people from several villages that would be affected by the project.