Tue, 06 Aug 2002

Raw sewage dumped in Cisadane river

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Tangerang

Three of the agencies in charge of proper sewage disposal in Tangerang who are expected to maintain the environment and to prevent any development activities that are harmful to people have been found to be in violation of a bylaw meant to curb illegal sewage dumping which goes directly into household taps.

For the past several months they have been found to be dumping raw sewage into a canal which flows through Tangerang city and into the Cisadane river, the main source of household water used by both the Tangerang regency and the municipality tap water companies.

Earlier, only truck drivers of the Tangerang municipality and regency environmental agencies were found to be dumping raw sewage from households into the Sipon canal on Jl. TMP Taruna. But now, truck drivers from the municipal resettlement and regional infrastructure agency also dispose untreated waste in the canal.

Those three agencies are entrusted with the task of safely handling and disposing of raw sewage throughout Tangerang.

Most of the illegal dumping over the past two months was done during normal working hours.

All of it is done in direct violation of bylaw No. 20/2000 on the environment, and despite numerous signs along the canal notifying everyone of the existence of the bylaw.

Last month, following media criticism of the dumping, the activities stopped for just one week.

The regency administration recently built a 40,000 square- meter wastewater treatment site with eight oxidation ponds in Karawaci.

However, the truck drivers are unwilling to transport the sewage to the treatment site due to the long distance (less than 10 kilometers) and also because the road has many potholes.

The drivers also seem to be making extra cash by charging for sewage dumping during normal work hours, using the city and regency trucks.

"Do you need a sewage truck? It only costs Rp. 50,000 for one load, we are ready," one of the drivers offered as The Jakarta Post approached them recently.

Meanwhile, a local resident, Syamsul Bahri, said that soon after the media criticism of the sewage dumping in the canal, the activities were halted for one week.

"But after a week, one by one, the trucks appeared again and once again began polluting the canal. I think the Tangerang mayor should assign officers to oversee the matter and take stern measures against the related agency chiefs for their insubordination," he said.

Cecep Suhendar, deputy chief of the regency environmental agency told the Post that the agency chief had warned all drivers not to dump the sewage into the canal.