Starting with a fleet of 400 fishermen, Governor Fauzi Bowo kicked off Saturday a Herculean effort to remove 14,000 cubic squares of garbage polluting Jakarta Bay every day.
Fauzi said the pollution across 2.8 square kilometers of the bay had reached critical levels, endangering mangrove forest and coral reefs that protected the city from natural disasters.
“Let’s save Jakarta Bay together,” Fauzi said as he sent fishermen off on the garbage-clearing mission at a ceremony at Festival Beach in Ancol, North Jakarta.
“The bay is home to potential maritime resources that support the lives of local fishermen and Jakarta residents.”
The governor added the pollution had slowed production in fishery and other maritime sectors by 38 percent.
The Bay is a sanctuary of 13 rivers dissecting Greater Jakarta, each carrying waste from domestic and industrial activities.
Despite the city bylaw that threatens litterbugs with jail sentences and fines, Fauzi said he opted not to punish people for violating it, which may partly be the reason for annual flooding in the capital.