Mon, 29 Dec 2003

'Waste management stops at disposal'

Jakarta produces about 6,000 tons of garbage daily, over half of that amount is household waste. Although the Bekasi administration has extended the period for Jakarta's use of the Bantar Gebang dump, the garbage crisis is still looming.

The city administration has yet to find a way of managing rubbish that is safe to people's health and to the environment. As contributors to the city's waste crisis, some people talked to The Jakarta Post on how they are dealing with the problem.

Vera, 44, works at a non-governmental organization concerned with the protection of women's and children's rights. She lives with her daughter in Kalibata area, South Jakarta:

I separate organic waste from non-organic waste. I also separate things, such as plastic, cartons and bottles, into different bags. But, you know what? Soon after I put the bags out to be collected by the garbage man, the scavengers sift through and tear them open with their scavenging hook. Worse still, the garbage man later picks up all the garbage and mixes the whole lot into one big heap.

Recycling? Well, I think the producers of detergent or other products in plastic packages should run a public campaign on recycling. I think this could be a profitable business, if neighborhood units recycled those plastic packages into durable shopping bags, for example.

I personally don't have much time or knowledge to create an environmentally friendly household. But I have used shampoo and soap products that lather less to save water -- since I don't have to rinse many times -- and to reduce water pollution as well.

Eka, 25, is an employee with a private company in Central Jakarta. She lives with her parents in South Jakarta:

Garbage processing to me is nothing more than helping my mother throw rubbish onto the dump provided by our neighborhood unit and paying the Rp 25,000 monthly sanitary fee to the neighborhood administration. The garbage truck picks up the rubbish every one or two days.

I think most Jakartans don't have time to recycle, we're too busy with other things. Moreover, why should we turn organic waste into compost when we don't have plants or garden to fertilize?

--The Jakarta Post