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The Jakarta Post
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Residents, architects preserve water

  • Dewanti A. Wardhani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Sat, March 7, 2015 | 08:34 am
Residents, architects preserve water

Waterworks: Residents of Pondok Pucung in South Tangerang dig biopore holes for water retention. JP/Dewanti A. Wardhani

People who visit upper-income housing complexes that are equipped with neatly managed waste and water systems in Bintaro, South Tangerang, may see stark differences in the nearby Pondok Pucung kampung (village).

Despite living in poorer conditions than their more fortunate neighbors, residents of Pondok Pucung are well aware of the environment and are willing to work together to improve their neighborhood.

Recently, residents cooperated to manually make 100 biopore holes near their homes to retain water. The project, called Nabung Aer, or Saving Water, was initiated by architects from the architectural community Design as Generator (DAG) in conjunction with a number of students from Pelita Harapan University'€™s school of design in Tangerang.

One of the project'€™s initiators, architect Ruth E. Oppusunggu, who also lives in the kampung, said she was concerned with the fact that her neighborhood lacked a proper waste and water management system.

'€œI wanted to make a change, so I started small, from my neighborhood,'€ Ruth told The Jakarta Post recently.

Ruth and husband Martin L. Katoppo, also an architect, had biopore holes installed around their homes. The holes not only helped absorb rainwater, she said, but also functioned as a waste management system for organic waste.

To make a biopore, Ruth said, a person has to dig into the ground using a special manual drill to create a hole. The second step is to insert a plastic pipe with small holes that allow maggots to crawl inside. After that, a long custom-made manipulatable metal stick is inserted into the pipe. Both are roughly one meter each in length and the pipe has a diameter of around 15 centimeters. The third step is to fill the pipe with organic waste.

After roughly three months, the organic waste, which by then would have turned into compost, will be stuck to the metal stick and can be collected by pulling the stick out of the pipe.

Ruth and her husband taught the trick to their neighbors, who enthusiastically welcomed the idea and immediately got on board. Dozens of residents in neighborhood units (RT) No. 05 and 06 of community unit (RW) No. 05 even got their hands dirty to dig the holes.

'€œThey [the biopore holes] are very beneficial because residents can also use the compost to plant anything they want,'€ she said, adding that the project was crowd-funded through the social media. One biopore hole costs Rp 90,000 (US$6.93).

'€œIn the future, we hope to do the project in other areas as well,'€ Ruth said.

The head of the community unit, Syarifudin Apuy, said he fully supported the project because he was concerned with the lack of a waste and water management system in the area.

'€œThis is a wonderful initiative and our residents are very enthusiastic. Residents in other neighborhood units were even jealous and asked if they could get the biopore project in their areas as well,'€ he said.

A resident, Aan Juhana, even dug two holes near his rented home.

'€œI'€™m very enthusiastic because this is a good idea and it minimizes our difficulties in handling waste and flooding. It'€™s very beneficial, not only for residents but also for our environment,'€ he said.

Previously, Apuy had encouraged residents to participate in the Bank Sampah or Waste Bank.

'€œIn our community unit, we participate in the Bank Sampah system, in which residents would save their non-organic waste and give it to the Melati Baru Foundation, which would trade their waste for cash,'€
he said.

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