The Jakarta Post
Inadequate sanitation services diminish Indonesia's economic growth potential, says the World Bank's latest report on the country's urban sanitation.
Lack of adequate sanitation costs the country the equivalent of around 2.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) annually in terms of health and environmental related economic losses, according to the report, which is based on an earlier study done by the World Bank's Water Sanitation Program (WSP).
Indonesia's impressive economic growth in recent years has not been matched by an increase in urban sanitation services. Less than five percent of the sludge collected from septic tanks is properly treated, and only about one percent of the wastewater generated by the population is treated, creating health and environmental concerns. Around 14 percent of urban dwellers still practice open defecation.
'Almost half of Indonesia's population lives in cities and many more will move to urban areas in coming years. Better wastewater and septage management services are urgently needed, especially for the poor,' World Bank country director for Indonesia, Rodrigo Chaves, said in an official release.
'The country would benefit from transformative solutions involving the public and private sectors, as well as increased public awareness of improved hygiene.'
Since 2000, the Indonesian government has been carrying out reforms in water supply and sanitation that are showing results.
For example, the Urban Sanitation Development Program (PPSP) has assisted hundreds of local governments in preparing city-wide sanitation plans.
Recently, the government significantly increased funding for sanitation services, helping to finance some 1,700 decentralized wastewater systems with plans in place to construct many more.
The government is also planning to construct centralized sewage systems in large urban areas.
'Quality urban sanitation services support the economic growth of cities, reduce health risks and protect the environment,' Sudipto Sarkar, World Bank water sector practice leader for the East Asia and Pacific region, said.
'Comprehensive and cost-effective measures are needed to improve sanitation, in order to achieve a better quality of life for the population, including the poor.'
The Indonesia urban sanitation review is part of the World Bank's forthcoming East Asia and Pacific Urban Sanitation Review, which focuses on three emerging middle-income nations in the region - Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
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