Sunday, November 30, 2008


Communities awarded for getting their hands dirty

City News - Monday, December 01, 2008

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Five community units in Jakarta have been named "environment heroes" for their efforts in tackling Jakarta's waste management problem.

In presenting awards to the five communities Sunday, Governor Fauzi Bowo said his office would pay more attention to people's environmental initiatives.

"Each of us, whether ordinary people or high-ranking officials, should promote efforts to save the environment," he said.

"There will be no more policies issued that could have an adverse impact on the public and the environment."

In the third Jakarta Green and Clean competition, community unit (RW) 07 in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta, was named the winner for a waste separation program, followed by RW 13 Cipinang Melayu in East Jakarta, South Jakarta's RW 06 Pesanggerahan and RW 02 Pasar Minggu, and RW 03 Semper Barat in North Jakarta.

The program was initiated by the Unilever Foundation with support from Republika daily newspaper, Delta FM radio and NGO Aksi Cepat Tanggap, as well as the City Environment Management Board (BPLHD).

"Although it was our first time in the competition, the win doesn't surprise me because we have been doing community empowerment programs for waste management for the past seven years," a representative from Kebayoran Lama, Fajarini Indasih, told The Jakarta Post.

About 300 community units took part in the competition for the Rp 20 million (US$1,700) first place prize money.

The Jakarta Green and Clean program also seeks to increase communities' awareness of waste management through training programs.

BPLHD head Budirama Natakusumah said more than 60 percent of the 6,000 tons of waste the city produced every day was organic household waste.

This calls for proper education so each household in each community has the knowledge to manage and utilize the organic waste, he added.

"The program aims to change communities' attitude toward waste management in their areas. We want them to have a sense of belonging to the management process," he said.

"We taught them to process organic waste into something beneficial that can they can reuse such as compost. We also trained them in making biopore holes. Our target is that at the end of 2008 there will be 5 million biopores available in Jakarta."

Communities who took part in the program were also trained to recycle plastic waste into profitable products, such as bags, pencil cases and umbrellas.

"In the future, we plan to teach people about electronic waste management and to empower and educate trash pickers to participate in the program," Budirama said.

The benefits turned out to be more than environmental.

"We actually made pretty decent money with this recycled plastic waste. We also managed to employ several young men and women in our community for this small cottage industry," Tia from Warakas, North Jakarta, said.

The ceremony, at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, Central Jakarta, was held in conjunction with Car Free Day.

No vehicle was allowed to enter Jl. Jend. Sudirman and Jl. MH Thamrin from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Where usually the road is thick with traffic, people were riding bicycles, jogging and playing futsal.

Also featured at the Jakarta Green and Clean event were a tanjidor (traditional Jakarta music group) concert, theatrical performances from the communities, exhibitions and stands displaying the communities' recycled products.

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