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Jakarta Post

Rawajati residents refrain from littering

  • Indah Setiawati

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, October 24, 2013   /  08:18 am

Sugeng, 42, pointed to some sacks of trash piled on a wooden cart parked on a bridge in Rawajati subdistrict in Pancoran, South Jakarta.

The piles of trash, he said, were carried by a tricycle dump truck everyday.

'€œWe used to throw trash in the river or burn it on the riverbank, but we don'€™t do that anymore after a massive flood hit the area earlier this year,'€ he told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Sugeng was referring to the Ciliwung River. His neighborhood was among the most severely affected during a flood that hit the capital in the middle of January.

Over 2,200 people from four community units in the subdistrict were displaced.

Sugiyanti, another resident who lived near the riverbank, said the habit of throwing trash in the river stopped after Governor Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo visited her neighborhood and warned them that fines would be given to those littering in the river.

'€œJokowi said garbage could cause floods and if we keep littering in the river, we would be fined or even jailed. Nobody dares to dump garbage in the river now as some neighborhood heads are watching,'€ she said.

She added the warning was effective immediately, with the neighborhood heads collecting Rp 10,000 (less than US$1) per month from every family to pay a man who would pick up the trash and take it to a nearby temporary dump every day. Sugiyanti said the riverbank was now much cleaner.

It was also greener after a Indonesian Military (TNI) officers planted many trees on the riverbank.

'€œWhen I have many problems in my head, I just sit here and enjoy the flow of water,'€ she said.

Despite all the efforts, the river is still not free of trash, with plastic bags still occasionally floating in it.

Sugiyanti said she sometimes saw passing motorists throwing plastic bags of trash into the river at night.

The Jakarta Sanitation Agency plans to enforce Bylaw No. 3/2013 on waste management by January next year, which regulates punishments for individuals as well as facility managements.

When implemented, those littering in public spaces, rivers, sewers or on the streets will face an on-the-spot fine of Rp 500,000 ($45.8). Housing, commercial, industrial and special area managements must provide waste management facilities or face a fine of up to Rp 50 million.

With the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) warning that the rainy season is likely to peak in December with intensive rainfall that may cause floods, residents in Rawajati are getting cautious.

Sugeng said he hoped the upcoming annual flood would not be as hard as earlier this year.

He said that although there was no heavy downpour, his neighborhood could suffer from floods caused by high debits of water from Bogor in West Java.

'€œI believe a big flood will only occur once in five years, so I think the next flood will not be that big,'€ he said.

Sugiyanti said she hoped the city would dredge the river because it was becoming shallower, with stronger currents. She said after a death of a boy in a nearby neighborhood in August, parents in the area had prohibited their children from playing on the riverbank.

'€œI'€™m worried when I see the river from my window during hard rain. I hope the city can distribute river water evenly by opening sluice gates in other areas as well, so we do not suffer from floods anymore,'€ she explained.

The city administration allocated Rp 500 billion this year alone to anticipate the annual inundation in the capital.

Public Works Agency head Manggas Rudy Siahaan said the dredging project for the Ciliwung River was targeted at reaching Kalibata bridge in Rawajati subdistrict, but it was unlikely to reach that area this year since the project had started from the downstream area near the sea. '€œWe may reach the area [Rawajati] in January. So far, the dredging project has reached Istiqlal Mosque [in Central Jakarta], Manggarai [in South Jakarta] and Kampung Melayu [in East Jakarta],'€ he told the Post over the phone on Wednesday.  He said the Ciliwung River should reach a width of 65-meters, including a 15-meter inspection road. '€œWe will collect the data of squatters on the riverbank as they may be affected by this project,'€ he said.

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