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Jakarta Post

City shares blame with previous administration for controversial smelly river: Anies

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, July 24, 2018   /   04:38 pm
City shares blame with previous administration for controversial smelly river: Anies City workers clean the Sentiong River under a giant nylon net in Central Jakarta on July 21. The city administration covered the river in an attempt to ward off the smell ahead of the 18th Asian Games in August. (Antara/Rivan Awal Lingga)

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has said the Sentiong River, popularly called Kali Item (black river), which passes through the area near the athletes village in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, has been polluted and smelly for years.

Anies has been under fire for instructing that the river be covered with a giant black nylon net prior to the 18th Asian Games next month.

The governor blamed the previous administration for not cleaning up the river, arguing that if significant measures had been taken long ago the river would not be as smelly.

“The problem didn’t emerge overnight. It’s been severely polluted for ages. We [the current city administration] only inherited the problem,” Anies said as quoted by on Tuesday.

The city administration recently covered the river with the black net, which according to Anies was aimed at “hiding the awful view and reducing the water evaporation that causes such an unpleasant smell”.

The city’s decision has sparked public debate and attracted attention from foreign media.

Anies, however, said the international media outlets only followed local media’s news coverage.

“Of course [the international media] put their attention on Kali Item too. They’re taking the news from our media,” he said.

He suggested that local media report less negative news about the city’s preparations to greet the Asian Games. “Let’s work together and agree on which side [of the news] we want to show to the world,” he said. (vla)