Fri, 05 Dec 2003

Jakarta dump site plan meets tough resistance

Theresia Sufa The Jakarta Post Bogor

Bogor policemen fired warning shots at hundreds of residents of Bojong and Situsari subdistricts and arrested four who showed strong resistance to the plan to establish a dump site for the capital Jakarta in the neighborhood.

The accumulated tension hit the ceiling on Thursday morning after the residents sighted dozens of police officers who were deployed near Rawajeler hamlet of Bojong subdistrict, where the dump site will be established.

After strong opposition to the plan over the last four months, the residents urged the Bogor administration to install waste treatment processing units at the site.

About 500 residents joined hands to obstruct traffic by placing used tires, logs and rocks on the road.

"Both the Bogor administration and the security officers know we have opposed the establishment of a dump site here because we know all about Bantar Gebang but they just don't care. They still send the machines," Rawajeler resident Dudung, 45, told The Jakarta Post.

Bantar Gebang dump site in Bekasi receives 6,000 tons of Jakarta household waste every day. The area is highly polluted as the garbage is just piled into a huge mound with no processing of the waste, driving residents from the area.

Water and air pollution have been the main complaints arising from the use of Bantar Gebang dump site. Analysts have blamed the pollution on the inadequate implementation of the sanitary landfill system.

When Bekasi administration officials started to complain that the trash at the site was not properly processed as promised by Jakarta and threatened not to extend the contract, the Jakarta administration claimed it had prepared three separate locations for waste treatment facilities.

One of the three is in Bojong, where the administration is said to have installed one waste treatment processing plant with a capacity of 1,500 tons per day that will be ready for use by January despite the residents' opposition.

Two other facilities in Duri Kosambi, West Jakarta, and on Jl. Cakung Cilincing in East Jakarta will be ready by June 2004.

When the police started to remove the blockade, the residents approached to stop them. The police fired warning shots several times to scare the residents away.

Jaka, 51, of Ciuncal hamlet, Situsari district, tried to approach the police to show them a copy of a letter issued by the Bogor City Council which states that the plan to establish the dump site should not be continued.

Dadang said the police grabbed Jaka and shouted that he was a provocateur. "They put him in the police truck," he said.

Three other residents: Samad, 25, of Ciuncal hamlet; Apin, 50; and Taing, 55; both residents of Rawajeler, were also taken away by the police.

Comr. Heri Santoso, head of the Bogor Police operation unit, said police were deployed to secure the project to widen the road connecting Cileungsi and Klapanunggal areas.

"The administration recommenced work after the long holiday by sending back the heavy equipment for the road construction. But someone incited the residents by telling them that the equipment was for the dump site construction," he told reporters.

Heri denied that four residents had been arrested, saying that only three were taken to Bogor Police Headquarters.

"We summoned them to explain clearly to them that the heavy equipment was to be used in the road construction. We also asked them to pass the information on to other residents, because we cannot afford another delay on the project," he argued.