Indonesia is the third-lowest ranking ASEAN country in terms of sanitation quality, according to Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto.
"We're obviously not in the worst position, but that’s where we are. Just look at UNICEF's data from 2011, which reported that 26 percent of Indonesian citizens are still defecating in open spaces," Djoko said on Monday at a sanitation conference in Jakarta, as quoted by Antara news agency.
Furthermore, Djoko said that 76.3 percent of 53 rivers surveyed in Java, Sumatra, Bali and Sulawesi were contaminated with organic materials. He also said that there were 11 rivers that were contaminated with ammonium.
This was why Djoko said that the country was still far behind when it came to sanitation. To catch up to other countries, he said, the government was taking a variety of measures to provide better sanitation and waste management throughout Indonesia.
"In the past few years, the government has made sanitation a higher priority. Investment in sanitation is also relatively big, at no less than Rp 3 trillion (US$315,498) per year," he said.
However, Djoko said that none of these efforts would be useful without public support in the form of better sanitary behavior.
"Dirty habits have to be thrown away. From now on, the public should understand that it should not litter. Nor should members of the public defecate wherever they please, like in rivers," he said. (png)