Jakarta’s fury over the multi trillion rupiah in garbage disposal fees sought by its neighbor Bekasi should serve as a hard lesson to expedite the capital city’s overdue effort to reform its primitive, costly waste management system, which relies on a single landfill. Our reporters Vela Andapita and Safrin La Batu analyze the prospect of the modern waste treatment facilities Jakarta is soon to build.

by Vela Andapita & Safrin La Batu

“Unless we reach an agreement,” the visibly angry Bekasi Mayor Rahmat “Pepen” Effendi said, “the road blockade will continue. Never mind stopping their garbage trucks, I can shut the landfill down.” Pepen made the incendiary statement at the height of his war of words with Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan last month over the unsettled annual bills the Jakarta ad-ministration was supposed to pay in order to continue dumping its 7,000 tons of garbage a day in the Bantar Gebang site in Bekasi. On another occasion, he scoffed that Anies “had no knowledge about the history of partnership between Jakarta and its satellite cities”. Dramatically reinforcing his demand that Jakarta soon settle the overdue Rp 2 trillion (US$136.23 million) it owed to Bekasi, Pepen blocked a road and held up 51 garbage trucks heading for the Bantar Gebang landfil...