The Jakarta Post
Ahmad, 33, will never forget the day when he was caught littering in his neighborhood in Kebagusan sub district in South Jakarta.
A few days ago, the security officer with a private company wanted to rid himself of a plastic bag of household garbage on his way to work at around 9 p.m.
As he passed Jl. Joe in Kebagusan with his motorcycle, he was aware of the presence of some officials from the subdistrict office who were guarding a nearby illegal dump.
'I drove past them. I knew they weren't letting residents throw trash on the site anymore,' he told The Jakarta Post recently.
The father of one toddler said he usually placed his garbage in an official temporary dump, but that night, he decided to take a shortcut and dump it near a bridge.
He disposed of his plastic bag and was about to leave the location when a motorist scolded him for littering.
'I was shocked. He quickly cut me off and took my key to prevent me from running. It was just like a police action. It turned out that I was being followed,' he said.
Ahmad was escorted back to Jl. Joe where he met subdistrict head Suhanto, who asked him to hand over his identity card.
In order to get back the identity card, he had to write a statement letter with a duty stamp, promising he would not repeat the act and that he would be willing to face legal consequences if he did.
'I was so ashamed because the subdistrict head was talking to me in person. I learned my lesson,' he said, adding he was also briefed about the new bylaw and the fine for littering.
Bylaw No. 3/2013 details regulations on a new way of handling waste in the capital, including a maximum Rp 500,000 (US$43) fine for littering and an obligation to separate organic and non-organic household waste.
Ahmad was the fifth resident who was caught littering. The first three violators were reported to a public order official in Pasar Minggu district and reportedly had to undergo a trial for a misdemeanor at the South Jakarta court.
Suhanto said he had been joining plain clothed officials to guard the illegal dump at night for a week. He reduced the frequency after seeing a significant improvement.
The site, he said, had been used as a temporary dump for years and an official operating the garbage truck from the Sanitation Agency was forced to clear it as it had become an eyesore and a source of pollution.
'We have placed a number of plants at the site and are guarding it from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., as most people throw litter at the location at night,' he told the Post over the weekend.
Many of the city's bylaws may be toothless, but Suhanto, who secured his position to lead Kebagusan subdistrict after passing an open call test for top local jobs, took the new bylaw on waste management seriously.
'I have ordered the heads of community units [RWs] and heads of neighborhood units [RTs] to confiscate the ID cards of residents who are caught littering,' he said.
The waste problem in his area, he said, was limiting space that could be used to make additional temporary dumps. He said there was resistance from residents against placing temporary dumps near their houses.
He said the existing two temporary dumps in two community units could not serve the 43,000 residents in the subdistrict. 'I hope every neighborhood can have small garbage carts that can be placed in a certain location to be picked up by the city's garbage truck,' he said.
According to the city's Sanitation Agency, there are only 191 temporary dumping sites in 265 subdistricts in the capital.
Head of the agency, Unu Nurdin, said he expected to see the enforcement of the bylaw early next year.
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