Thu, 10 Jul 2003

Jakarta still seeking additional dump sites

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Five months prior to the closure of the Bantar Gebang dump site in Bekasi mayoralty, councillors have demanded the City Sanitation Agency to ready for locating alternative dump sites to avoid a possible garbage crisis next year.

"We need assurances that the city will not experience another garbage crisis next year. Therefore, we want the agency to report any progress on the preparations," said chairman Koeswadi of City Council Commission D on development affairs during a hearing with the agency on Wednesday.

Head of the agency Salamat Limbong admitted that his agency had a limited ability and could handle only 2,500 of 6,000 tons of garbage produced by Jakartans daily. He also said that only two garbage treatment facilities in Bojong village, Bogor, and in Cakung, North Jakarta, would be ready by December.

The total capacity of the two facilities, operated by PT Wira Gulfindo Sarana, will be around 2,500 tons per day. The facilities use the German ball press technology, and the city must pay a tipping fee to the company at Rp 53,000 (US$6.5) per ton.

"Both locations have been prepared (by the agency) as emergency sites once the Bantar Gebang dump site has been closed down," said Limbong.

The agency's plan to set up a dump site in Duri Kosambi with a target of 1,000 tons is facing a problem since the city administration has yet to issue a permit for its construction. City officials had claimed earlier that the construction of the dump site was 80 percent complete.

Bekasi closed the Bantar Gebang dump site at the end of 2001, accusing Jakarta of causing environmental damage, and in turn caused a garbage crisis in the capital, as most of the waste was left to pile up unchecked, particularly at traditional markets, on street corners and in neighborhoods.

President Megawati Soekarnoputri and State Minister for the Environment Nabiel Makarim stepped in and ended the dispute in January 2002, but Jakarta had to pay a compensation of Rp 14 billion and build various facilities, including a community health center and a water pipeline, in the villages of Ciketing Udik, Cikiwul and Sumur Batu in Bantar Gebang district.

Governor Sutiyoso has said that the administration would not extend an agreement with Bekasi mayoralty for the 104-hectare dump site. Jakarta first began using Bantar Gebang in 1996, and the agreement is to end on Dec. 31, 2003.

Limbong said that his agency has planned to construct six garbage treatment facilities using the ball press technology in Sukapura and Sunter in North Jakarta, two units in Pulo Gebang, East Jakarta, and two units in Cakung-Cilincing, East Jakarta. With a capacity of 500 tons each, the facilities built on city land could accommodate around 3,000 tons of garbage.

However, the plan remains a pipe dream since the agency has not received the green light from the governor to commence the project. Limbong said that he had no idea as to the funding for the project, since it was not included in the 2003 City Budget.

The ball press machine must be imported from Germany, and at a cost of Rp 15 billion for each machine, the agency needs an additional Rp 90 billion to purchase six machines.