Mon, 29 Dec 2003

Expert urges people to deal with own waste

P.C. Naommy, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The extension of the use of Bantar Gebang dump site is only a short-term solution to the capital's waste problem. For the long term, residents must greatly concern on waste management, a waste management expert said.

"The concern is needed because every one of us produces garbage," Sri Bebassari, who is also chairwoman of the Indonesian Waste Forum (IWF), told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

She said one individual produced at least one liter of garbage daily, and that domestic waste accounted for between 50 percent and 60 percent of the capital's daily waste.

According to the latest data at the Central Statistics Bureau, Jakarta is home to 7.46 million residents with a demographic density of 11,300 people per square kilometer.

Emphasizing the need for a better solution that combines an environmental approach with concerted efforts from relevant institutions and the public, Sri said technology should be last on the list, "because it will require a large investment in machines and their operational costs".

She suggested that residents start minimizing domestic waste by recycling them or reusing the products.

If this was not possible, she said, residents could save their organic waste to turn into compost.

"Organic waste, such as vegetables and cooked rice, should not be burned because they are not completely decomposed and burning them will produce carbon monoxide, which is very dangerous to human beings," she said.

In order to lay down the ground rules for concerted waste management, she said, the government, along with several non- governmental organizations, had completed a draft waste management bill. "The draft is now being deliberated by the House of Representatives."

Earlier on Friday, an employee of the waste management unit at the South Jakarta Sanitation Agency claimed the office had told residents to process their own garbage by burying them in their yards.

Arif, who owns a small food stall on Jl. Amil Buncit Raya, Pancoran, near the agency's office, said he had never heard of such an instruction and that besides, his neighborhood did not have any space left for residents to bury their garbage.

Arif's neighbor, Rahman, said residents usually threw out their garbage into a vacant lot off the street. The lot is located in front of a school.

"We burn the garbage every two or three weeks to prevent it from piling up," said Rahman.

Individual waste management

Three "Rs" in Waste Management

A. Reduce

1. Bring your own bags when you shop

2. Buy in bulk

3. Avoid disposable products

4. Choose products with minimal or no packaging

5. Buy reusable or recyclable packages

6. Buy rechargeable batteries

7. Shop where containers can be refilled or returned

B. Reuse

1. Repair items rather than throwing them away

2. Use empty containers, packages, plastic spoons, straws, etc. for home crafts

C. Recycle

1. Take recyclable waste to community centers/NGOs that run a scavenger program

2. Separate garbage according to type -- cardboard/newspaper, plastic, glass, wood/construction materials, broken household appliances, etc. -- and distribute to local trash collectors, or tukang beling, who make regular rounds in certain neighborhoods

3. Turn organic waste into compost

How to make compost

1. Find a location for the compost drum/bin, choose a spot that

has some shade (too much sun will dry out the compost)

2. Start by putting small twigs at the base of the drum/bin, then alternately layer with food scraps and garden clippings. Note: Keep meat and dairy products, pet droppings, plastic and metal objects out of the compost drum/bin.

3. Keep the compost moist, but not wet, and turn it once a week to quicken the process,

4. After two to three months the compost will be ready to use.

From various sources