Thu, 02 Oct 2003

Depok residents upset by mountains of trash

Marilin, The Jakarta Post, Depok

Residents in Cipayung subdistrict, Depok, have been complaining about the accumulation of garbage at the Cipayung dumpsite in the area and said it was causing unhealthy levels of pollution.

"This place has been used as a disposal site for 14 years. At the beginning, it was only 2,500 square meters but it has expanded and is now 90,000 square meters," said one of the residents, Gani, 42.

"We have the right to complain as the garbage does not only cause pollution but it can also cause floods when the rainy season comes because the water cannot drain effectively into the Pesanggrahan River. Instead, the water floods housing areas," he added.

The residents criticized Depok municipal administration for ignoring the impact of the dump in the area.

Head of Depok Sanitation and Parks Agency, Walim Herwandi, claimed recently that the agency had processed the garbage using the sanitary landfill system.

"Basically, the soil will cover the garbage in a recycling basin," he said, while adding that the agency would soon provide soil to cover the garbage and, "therefore, it would no longer pollute the environment."

Depok Environment Agency head Rahmad Subagyo promised that his officials would survey and observe the dumpsite. They will take samples from Pesanggrahan River and the residents artesian wells and send them to the Bogor Institute of Agriculture laboratory for examination.

"The agency is currently involved in a project with the Depok Forestry Agency starting this month to plant trees around the dump to act like a green belt. We hope it will minimize water pollution caused by the accumulating garbage," he said.

Data from Jembatan Serong public health center in Cipayung revealed that 691 residents had suffered acute respiratory problems, which could be caused by increased air pollution from the dumpsite.

"Most of the 691 patients live near the dump," said Rani Martina, one of doctors at the health center, adding that the health center had provided one free visit per month for local residents.