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Jakarta Post

River pollution: Agency battles ignorance, bad habits and disappearing trash cans

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, June 20, 2019   /   11:06 am
River pollution: Agency battles ignorance, bad habits and disappearing trash cans Garbage floats in the Krukut River in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta. The residents of riverbank settlements habitually dump their household waste into the river – a habit that poses the greatest challenge in keeping the river clean. ( Aulia)

The Central Jakarta Environment Agency has spoken about its struggle to clean up the Krukut River in Kebon Kacang subdistrict, Tanah Abang, citing the lack of awareness on proper waste disposal among local residents – particularly those of riverbank settlements – as its greatest challenge.

“Most of the kitchens [in the houses] are located on the riverside. This has been a long-standing issue,” the agency's operations head, Abdul Rahmat, said on Wednesday as quoted by

He said that the agency had placed trash cans at riverbank settlements, expecting the residents to use the facilities for their garbage and stop dumping their waste into the river.

However, when workers of the Public Facility Maintenance Agency (PPSU) – known as the pasukan oranye, or "orange troops" – made their rounds to collect the garbage, they discovered that many of the trash cans had disappeared.

“We empty the trash cans regularly, but the trash cans were nowhere to be found,” said Abdul.

He added that the pasukan oranye found fresh garbage floating in the river when they went to clean the area every morning. 

“We once caught someone polluting the river," he said, and that most riverbank residents preferred throwing their garbage into the river – rather than carrying their garbage to the trash cans outside – because it was close to their kitchens. "They did this even while our workers were cleaning the river,” he added.

The Krukut River has turned brackish from years of domestic pollution. Among the non-degradable waste that the orange troops often fish out of the river are plastic, polystyrene, cardboard and steel appliances.

Abdul said that the agency could not establish a temporary trash disposal site (TPS) in the area due to limited space. The only way to keep the area clean was to install public trash cans that the orange troops emptied regularly, using trash carts to collect the garbage.

The TPS system is also applied to dense residential areas in Central Jakarta as well as Bendungan Hilir. (vla/iwa)