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Jakarta Post

Thousands join for cleaner Jakarta

  • Corry Elyda

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 20, 2014   /  10:01 am
Thousands join for cleaner Jakarta

Noble job: Volunteers collect trash on Jl. MH Thamrin during Car-Free Day in Jakarta on Sunday. At least 100 community organizations, both foreign and local, took part in this annual event, known as Clean Up Jakarta Day. JP/AWO

In a bid to increase awareness of green issues, around 5,000 locals and foreigners from more than 100 community groups, schools and private firms took part in the annual Clean Up Jakarta Day on Sunday morning, picking up trash at several sites across the city.

At Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) Stadium in Senayan sports complex, Central Jakarta, around 800 people of all ages got involved in the event, which was held by Indonesia Expat magazine.

Equipped with gloves and plastic sacks, they busied themselves picking up trash from the ground alongside Sunday morning runners and groups of friends.

'€œPlastic spoons and cigarette butts are my biggest catch so far,'€ 48-year-old participant Judy said, wiping sweat from her forehead.

Judy, who works for one of the companies sponsoring the event, said she was happy to participate in picking up trash, as similar events were regularly held in her hometown, Melbourne.

Judy lamented that littering was still a bad habit for many Jakartans. '€œWhen I see people littering, instead of complaining, I usually pick up their trash so they'€™ll be ashamed,'€ she said.

Judy, who has been living in Jakarta for nine months, said the movement was a good example to raise awareness in society of the importance of waste management.

Her motivation was shared by Rahmat Hidayat, the coordinator of social community Minggu Berbagi (Weekend Sharing), which cleans up GBK every two weeks.

'€œOur goal is not only to clear trash, but also to encourage people to be more aware about their waste,'€ he said.

Rahmat said he was ashamed that foreigners were more aware about city sanitation than the locals. '€œWe decided to clean up this place every two weeks after we saw Japanese cleaning club Osoji picking up flyers that we had distributed for our other activities and that people had dropped on the ground,'€ he said.

Rahmat said that although Clean Up Jakarta Day came only once a year, it could help convince the public and the city administration to pay more attention to city cleanliness.

'€œIn GBK for example, people want to throw their garbage in trash bins, but they'€™re not available or broken,'€ he said. Most trash bins around GBK are either gone or damaged.

Rahmat said that moreover, sanitation officers were reluctant to reprimand litterers.

'€œMany companies promote their products here by giving free samples but they don'€™t care if visitors put the packaging in the bin or not,'€ he complained.

Other sites targeted by Clean Up Jakarta Day included Menteng Park, Pasar Baru and National Monument (Monas) park in Central Jakarta; Santa market, Jl. Kemang Raya, Jl. Brawijaya and Jl. Terogong Raya in South Jakarta; Jl. Raya Bekasi Timur in East Jakarta and areas around Bina Bangsa School in Pantai Indah Kapuk, North Jakarta.

Angela Richardson, the founder of Clean Up Jakarta Day, said around 5,000 volunteers on Sunday managed to collect about 35 tons of garbage from 27 sites across the city in two hours.

The number is five times higher than last year'€™s six tons of rubbish collected by 1,000 volunteers in 16 places.

'€œHowever, our goal is not clearing garbage but getting people involved and increasing awareness,'€ she said, adding that 30 percent of the participants were foreigners while the rest were locals.

Angela, the chief editor of Indonesia Expat, said around 30 percent of the garbage would be recycled. '€œWe cooperate with street children foundation KDM'€™s Jakarta Green Project to sort out the garbage and sell anything recyclable to a recycling factory,'€ she said, adding that the money would be used for charity.

She said she hoped the event could gain official sponsorship from the city administration. '€œWe hope we can gather 20,000 volunteers next year,'€ she said.