Growing pressure on water resources in Indonesia's Citarum River Basin in West Java is stimulating education and recycling as cost-effective methods of improving the region's notoriously polluted rivers.

Transcript

Title: Recycling and Education Help Revive Indonesia's Citarum River Basin

Description: Growing pressure on water resources in Indonesia's Citarum River Basin in West Java is stimulating education and recycling as cost-effective methods of improving the region's notoriously polluted rivers.

VO: The Citarum River and its tributaries in West Java are a vitally important water supply for both the city of Bandung, home to 10 million people, and the greater Jakarta region, of 25 million people live.

Over the past 20 years, water quality in the Citarum River Basin has been decreasing rapidly as pollution squeezes the life from the waterways. Every day thousands of tons of household garbage and untreated industrial waste contribute to this enormous unhealthy, floating rubbish dump. The toxic waste kills the rivers, fosters disease and hampers power generation.

The West Tarum Canal in Citarum provides 80% of Jakarta’s fresh water, but it’s badly polluted from rivers that cross it on its way to the capital. The contamination increases the cost of treating the water for the growing number of consumers who rely on it. ADB has helped finance a major engineering project to keep the canal water clean by running it beneath the dirty Bekasi River.

SOT: Tatang Suhartono
Because of the siphon, the water from the West Tarum Canal is now separate from the Bekasi River, which is so badly polluted. The aim of this project is to improve water quality as demand for water in Jakarta grows.

VO: The Bekasi Siphon cost $1.8 million, of which ADB contributed 80%. Similar projects are planned to keep pace with the huge need for fresh water in the region.

But trying to keep Jakarta’s drinking water separate from septic rivers is only a stop gap. The long-term solution is cleaning up Citarum’s rivers for good - a far harder challenge.

Inroads have been made in reducing industrial waste, but weak enforcement means anti-dumping laws have done little to reduce the vast amount of household waste poisoning Citarum’s rivers. Indra Darmawan has worked with communities along the rivers in Bantar Caringin. He believes a different approach is needed.

SOT: Indra Darmawan
We cannot enforce the law without educating people how to deal with their problem, especially with the pollution around Citarum.

VO: Along with community-based training on the health benefits of a cleaner river, goes incentivizing communities to forms businesses turning trash to cash. ADB has partnered with local government and the Ministry of Health to support an initiative that combines both, in the village of Karang Linggar in the district of Karawang.

SOT: Eneng Komariah, village leader
Before the recycling project people had no place to dump their rubbish, so they used the river, now that has all changed, people are wiser.

SOT:  Entus Sutisna, recycler
Now we earn a good income from recycling plastic and glass. Not only our own rubbish but the huge amount that can be salvaged daily from the rivers round here. Now I have enough money from it to ensure the family eats better and my two children can now attend school.

VO: Recycling and better management of waste in Karang Linggar village has had an impact on health as well as creating new sources of revenue.

SOT: Nur Gusmayanti, housewife
There has been an improvement in just a few months, my children are healthier. They can bathe in the river and because the water is cleaner they are not so sick.

VO: Recycling projects are springing up across the region as communities realize the economic and health potential of dealing with solid waste. There’s a long way to go, but the hope is Citarum will become a model of sustainable water management, rather than home to some of the world’s most polluted rivers.

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