The Jakarta Post
Your comments on the plan of the Jakarta administration to impose a fine of up to Rp 500,000 (US$42.70) on those who litter in public spaces, starting next month:
It's a good policy that must be supported and appreciated by whoever is educated and civilized. When will we become civilized people, if we still litter wherever we are?
Most of those who litter come from slum areas. They can't even fulfill their daily needs. Jokowi, do you want to put millions in jail? Be smart, sir.
Well done Pak Jokowi for implementing a regulation on garbage management. Well done for placing would-be litterbugs in the hands of law enforcement personnel (in whom we trust).
Allow me to explain one very clear cause of littering. I live in Sarua Indah, South Tangerang, and I am presented with three choices when dealing with my household trash.
One ' burn it, which I will not do. Two ' pay the local trash collector to take away my trash, which he will then burn a short distance from where we live, along with the trash of everyone else who has paid to have their trash taken away, which I also choose not to do.
Three ' take the trash with me in the car, which I have done for the last three and a half years, and dump it in a place where there is a rubbish bin of suitable size. This often means I must look for a suitable site in South Jakarta. I have tried to reason with the local government, but officials do not bother to respond to my emails or take appropriate measures to resolve this problem.
My neighborhood unit head will not help because he is the local trash collector and I know only too well what he does with the rubbish that he collects for a fee ' burn, burn, burn. I once took my trash to the office of the subdistrict head, who told me to dump it at Ciputat market, which I will also not do.
So, this is my dilemma. But Saturday's The Jakarta Post editorial speaks of bylaws and litterbugs and ignores the plight of so many people who have no facilities provided by the local government, are forced to dispose of their trash any way they can and are forced to inhale the perpetual stench of burning trash in their neighborhood.
I am one of those people and I for one look forward to the day when the police finally catch me in the act of disposing of my trash so I can perhaps draw your attention to the true state of affairs in South Tangerang. Perhaps Pak Jokowi would like to visit Sarua Indah in South Tangerang and see for himself how fires burn on almost every street and hamlet are shrouded in poisonous smoke from the burning of plastic waste. This is how it is and this is what we and our children must endure.
If Pak Jokowi (and the editor of the Post) really want to help, they might start by revisiting the statutory laws of Indonesia (UU No. 32/ 2009), which place responsibility on central and local governments to protect.
John C. Torr
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