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Jakarta Post

Garbage banks, app help solve waste problem

  • Kusumasari Ayuningtyas and Severianus Endi

    The Jakarta Post

Klaten/Pontianak   /   Sat, February 27, 2016   /  09:34 am
Garbage banks, app help solve waste problem Sorting, profiting: Workers sort waste at a garbage bank in Palar village, Klaten regency, Central Java, on Friday. The garbage is later sent to a collection facility and sold for further recycling purposes. (JP/Kusumasari Ayuningtyas) (JP/Kusumasari Ayuningtyas)

Sorting, profiting: Workers sort waste at a garbage bank in Palar village, Klaten regency, Central Java, on Friday. The garbage is later sent to a collection facility and sold for further recycling purposes. (JP/Kusumasari Ayuningtyas)

Garbage banks and smartphone applications are being used to overcome garbage problems in Klaten regency in Central Java and Pontianak, West Kalimantan.

Residents of Palar subdistrict in Klaten have for the last two months been sorting their domestic waste and grouping it according to type in preparation for the establishment of garbage banks.

'€œGarbage banks give us a solution and are also profitable for the community,'€ Palar subdistrict garbage bank chairman Marino said.

He said the garbage banks only started to operate at the end of January this year but their membership increased significantly in just days. It started with only 52 members and by the end of February membership was up to over 370.

Marino said residents were enthusiastic about depositing their garbage at the banks because they got money in return and at the same time they also made their respective houses cleaner, free from plastic bags, empty bottles and other waste.

Marino also said that for the time being the bank could only manage inorganic garbage, which gets deposited there via garbage collectors every three days. It could not yet process organic waste because that required further training and technology.

Head of Klaten Environmental Agency (BLH) pollution control division Bambang Subiyantara said that ideally each subdistrict in the regency would have its own garbage bank.

He said the regency administration had allocated Rp 2.8 billion (US$200,000) to establish garbage banks in 10 subdistricts in Klaten, but the one in Palar, Trucuk district, was not among the 10.

'€œTheirs was self-established by the community,'€ Bambang said. He said garbage banks were chosen as the right solution to the waste problem because Klaten has had no final dump-site (TPA) for the last year. Thanks to this program, waste management is expected to be more effective and efficient as it directly deals with the garbage problem at the domestic level.

Meanwhile, Pontianak, West Kalimantan, has been struggling to deal with its garbage problem, producing 250 to 300 tons of waste per day. The only nearby TPA is located in Batu Layang, North Pontianak, on just 20 hectares.

With rife littering practices among a population of 600,000, the problem worsens as garbage piles up in visible places including near hotels in downtown areas.

Pontianak Deputy Mayor Edi Rusdi Kamtono said the city administration would soon oversee integrated policing operations involving public order officers, district heads, subdistrict heads and the Sanitary Agency to deal with unlicensed, unsightly garbage dumps.

'€œThe number of dumpsites needs to be increased and people'€™s awareness needs to be improved,'€ Edi said.

Viryan, a local garbage activist, blamed the situation on the lack of official dumpsites within a reasonable distance of housing complexes, as well as on littering habits and lack of education on the effect of litter.

To anticipate the TPA in Batu Layang fast becoming filled to capacity, the Pontianak city administration have been encouraging people to sort out their garbage. If it can be recycled the volume of dumped can be controlled.

Angkut'€™s, a technology-based startup sociopreneur, has offered a solution to waste issues in the form of an Android application that can be downloaded on the Google Play Store.

Hafiz, the initiator, said that among the services offered through the app were a garbage collection service for which people would get paid if their garbage was already sorted. Residents were only expected to pay if they asked Angkut to help sort the garbage.

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