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Jakarta Post

Costly, dirty and unfair: Indonesia at crossroads in embracing incinerators

The Jakarta Post Image
A trash picker and cattle wander at the Putri Cempo dump site in Surakarta, Central Java. The administration plans to install an incinerator to process 1.8 million tons of waste in the dump and daily trash from Surakarta.(JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)
Arya Dipa and Ardila Syakriah
Jakarta and Bandung   ●   Sun, May 3, 2020

Fifteen years have passed since an avalanche of waste at Leuwigajah landfill in Cimahi, West Java, killed at least 147 people—a tragedy that was not unheard of in Indonesia, a country that produces 64 million tons of waste annually.

The waste crisis has yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Garbage continues to pile up in landfills across the country, many of which will soon run out of capacity.

The Bantar Gebang dumpsite in Bekasi, West Java, which accommodates some 7,500 tons of waste per day from capital Jakarta, is not an exception. It is predicted to reach its maximum capacity of 49 million tons by 2021.

Rather than pushing people to reduce consumption and sort their own waste at home, the government is pinning its hopes on incinerators, also known as waste-to-energy power plants (PLTSa), to solve the problem.