Indonesia’s waste problem

A little while back I was invited to visit Pulau Seribu (the Thousand Islands) that lie north west of Jakarta.

It wasn’t the best trip to say the least – everyone on the boat got real seasick due to the choppy seas – but the island we spend the day at was really nice. So nice in fact that it was almost impossible to believe that you were just one hour or so away from the pollution nightmare that is Jakarta.

In the late afternoon we headed back.

But about 100 meters from the shore, the boat driver eased off on the gas, and then to my incredible amazement, got up and started to chuck all sorts of rubbish left by the boat’s passengers into the sea.

Plastic bottles, coke cans, empty cigarette packets, glass bottles. Anything he could find. And a few diapers for good measure too. All this garbage was soon floating around, creating a mini cesspit of filth - not that anyone on the boat could care less of course.

Now the rubbish from one boat might not be much on its own of course. But it is when everyone’s doing it.

In fact, the problem is now so serious that rubbish in Jakarta Bay is currently accumulating at the alarming rate of 300 cubic meters per day.

And guess what?

According to the Jakarta Post, the rubbish is now rapidly encroaching on the Thousand Islands maritime national park.

Absolute madness.

But why do Indonesians treat their beloved country in such a way? It’s something I’ve never understood despite living here for over 10 years.

And don’t say it’s cos of poor education. It isn’t.

Just look at the junk that gets thrown out of car windows by motorists for example.

I once even saw some guy chuck out a small glass energy drink bottle that shattered in the road, narrowly missing a passing motorcyclist.

Hike to the top of one of Indonesia’s magnificent volcanoes and what sight are you greeted with apart from a breathtaking view? A mountain of Indo Mie cartons and coke cans.

And as
road junkie points out, even Bali has problems:

As it stands, locals in Kuta empty their garbage into a river that spills its contents out into the Indian Ocean during high tide. Then, the swells on Kuta Beach, Bali’s only sand bottom surf break, deposit all the garbage onto the beach. This, the most popular spot for beginning surfers, sometimes resembles a cesspool.

Time to clean up your act Indonesia!!!!


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