Wed, 23 Jul 2003

Jakarta may extend use of Bantar Gebang dump

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The city administration has revised its previous statements on the closure of the Bantar Gebang dump in Bekasi municipality, saying it may extend the use the dump due to the City Sanitation Agency's failure to provide alternative locations.

"We are open to all possibilities, including extending our agreement with the Bekasi administration for the use of the Bantar Gebang dump," Governor Sutiyoso said on Tuesday.

Sutiyoso's made his statement in the light of the fact that the agency is still apparently unable to handle the 6,000 tons of garbage produced by Jakartans every day.

Sutiyoso and other relevant officials, including the assistant to the City Secretary for Development Affairs, Irzal Djamal, and the head of the sanitation agency, Selamat Limbong, had previously declared that Bantar Gebang would be closed in December.

The officials even said that the 1,000 tons of garbage produced by Bekasi every day should not be disposed of at the 104-hectare dump, which has been used by Jakarta since 1986.

Irzal previously announced that three garbage treatment facilities were being prepared to replace Bantar Gebang. He claimed that the construction of the three facilities was 80 percent complete.

The facilities are located in Duri Kosambi, West Jakarta, which has a capacity of 1,000 tons of garbage per day; in Jonggol, Bogor, with a capacity of 1,500 tons per day, and on Jl. Cakung Cilincing, East Jakarta, with a capacity of 1,000 tons per day. The latter two facilities are owned by PT Wira Gulfindo Sarana.

However, despite the official's claim, construction has only begun on the facility in Jonggol, while construction on the other two has yet to start. The facility in Duri Kosambi, which will convert garbage into liquid and solid fertilizer, is expected to be fully operational in December 2004.

Sutiyoso said he had been persuaded by his officials that the city would be ready to handle the garbage it produced by the end of this year. He said that the relevant officials would have to be held responsible if they were not able to resolve the possible garbage crisis.

"Ask the City Sanitation Agency ... If they have lied, hang them all up together. Reports forwarded to the governor should not just consist of empty words. If they do, the officials are only amateurs, not professionals," he said.

Jakarta started to dump garbage in Bantar Gebang in 1986 but the Memorandum of Understanding between Jakarta and Bekasi was first signed in 1999, requiring Jakarta to make good all environmental damage and pay compensation of Rp 1 billion (US$121,951) per year.

However, water and air pollution in the area has worsened due to improper implementation of the sanitary landfill system.

A dispute in December 2001 led to the Bekasi administration closing Bantar Gebang, causing a garbage crisis in Jakarta for around two weeks. Bekasi finally agreed to allow Jakarta to dump its waste in Bantar Gebang after the Jakarta administration paid compensation of Rp 14 billion. This year, Jakarta must pay Rp 8.75 billion in compensation to Bekasi.