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Managing A Bunch of People’s S***s
By Prananda Navitas on September 11, 2008
“It is predicted that without the 3R program, by 2012 Surabaya’s landfills will be totally paralyzed by the enormous amount of trash produced per day. Thus a zero waste solution must be devised; preferably a simple, cost-efficient, and community-based method.”
Everyone knows that trash, rubbish, garbage; whatever you want to call it, society’s refuse is a problem to practically every city in the world. A city has faced waste-related problems at least once during its existence. Failure to treat waste can lead to the genesis of an unhealthy environment, and the degradation of the city’s image. During the 1950s, Europe faced a trash crisis, which led to composting as a treatment for municipal solid waste. Surabaya faced an overflow of waste in 2001; her landfills couldn’t cope with the amount of trash that the society coughs out daily. The stench was so extreme that people living as far away as ten kilometers from the landfill can still smell its “bitter-sweet” aroma. This I know because I live more or less ten kilometers away from the Keputih Landfill!
Amount of waste deposited into waste depot
± 1,600 tons/day
± 1,480.4 tons/day
Disposed of using mini incinerator
± 120 tons/day
Decentralized zero waste program
± 413.7 tons/day
± 532.97 tons/day
Disposed of in backyards
± 148 tons/day
± 148 tons/day
± 108.6 tons/day
± 2390 tons/day
± 2248.9 tons/day
Before the discussion develops any further, it would be best to briefly describe Surabaya, the capital of East Java province. Covering an area of about 326.36km², divided into 31 districts, and 163 sub-districts, Surabaya is the second largest city in Indonesia with inhabitants amounting up to 3.2 million during the evening, and almost twice as much during the day. From the aforementioned, one can imagine the amount of rubbish produced per day, thus, a question arises: “how much (waste-related) load must Surabaya bear?”
Surabaya produces more or less 8.700m³ of trash per day; 72% of it is made up of household rubbish. Out of the total amount of rubbish produced per day, 69% of it is piled up in landfills; 4% is incinerated; 14% is recycled by trash collectors, and only 1% is recycled by the society. This simple statistic shows how low Surabaya’s society’s awareness towards waste management is.
When discussing waste, the facts of the matter are cliché; the society still lacks the awareness to dispose of garbage in a proper manner, resulting in litter, and rivers, canals and waterways turned into landfills. To make matters even worse, sidewalk retailers
and instant marketplaces that occupy the city’s perhaps marginalized spaces contribute greatly to the added waste load that Surabaya must bear. The formal sector doesn’t seem to help much as well as most of them still use non-recyclable packaging materials. To top all the aforementioned, trash has not been professionally treated. The outcome can be easily guessed; rivers and various other waterways (including ground water) become soiled, air pollution staggers, floods occur regularly during the raining season as rivers and canals are silted. Slum areas also appear especially along river banks.
Basically Surabaya’s policy and strategy towards waste management cover the following aspects:
- Maximizing waste reduction from its source of production; promoting 3R attempts and securing household waste, incentive and disincentive mechanisms in exploiting waste.
- Propose active society involvement as partner in waste management; education as tool to introduce and raise awareness of waste management at an early age, and establishing social partnership between the society, women, and private parties in waste management.
- strengthening waste management institute capacity; encouraging waste management institution form and capacity improvement according to service needs; separating bodies/regulatory and operating functions; improving cooperation and management coordination, and encouraging collective regional waste management operations; incentive and disincentive mechanisms for landfill areas.
- Developing cooperation with private parties; encouraging an inductive climate for public-private-partnerships; facilitating public-private-partnership development.
- Developing and improving services to achieve national aims in steps; optimizing the use of available waste treating facilities; improving just, planned, and programmed service capacity according to needs and scale of priority; improving landfill management quality and rehabilitating contaminating landfills; research and development of environmentally-oriented and effective waste management and treatment technology.
- Application of cost-recovering principles; engineering cost recovery pattern guidelines; facilitating and assisting compilation of retribution standards that are cost recovering oriented; disseminating cost recovery guidelines to related institutes/agencies.
Improving law enforcing effectiveness; developing law by-products as foundation and guideline to waste management services; consistently implementing supervising system and sanction in establishing enforcers/officials, society, and private parties by a regulatory body/agency.
To overcome the problem, and aiming for a trash-free society, Surabaya has tried to implement a waste-reducing scheme known as 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). To explain briefly what each R means:
Reduce: waste should be reduced from the source. Ultimately this will reduce the amount of rubbish the city has to deal with in their landfills.
Reuse: waste should be reused as much as possible to avoid more rubbish input to landfills.
Recycle: a very common term, any recyclable material should be recycled so that it would not go to waste, and still has competitive resale value.
This method has been devised with a vision to focus on the environment by attempting to greatly decrease our traces in the environment through generating zero growth on the amount of garbage we produce each day. 3R is also a multi-stakeholder scheme, and a stimulant to generate economic effect. Throughout its implementation in Surabaya, an international cooperation has
been established in the form of a sister city program with Kitakyushu, Japan, treating organic waste into compost, to promote zero waste
growth; this has helped Surabaya’s citizens to better understand the appropriate methods and technology in dealing with (household) waste. Ultimately, the 3R program has encouraged Surabaya’s citizens to re-orient themselves into having a glocalized attitude towards waste.
3R: The Mission
There are a few general objectives that the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle program aims to fulfil, and they are as follows:
- To reduce organic faction until 15% by the end of the 5th year
- To reduce non-organic faction by 5-8% by the end of the 5th year
- Solid waste separation at the source
- To simplify solid waste management in the city
- Educating the community
3R in Surabaya
In general, 3R has been implemented in Surabaya using two different approaches; community-based decentralized waste management, and composting program.
Community-based Decentralized Waste Management
In this approach, the waste management program aims to reduce the amount of waste from its source through various community programs; Socializing garbage separation (organic, and non-organic waste) to ease further processing; organic waste will be turned into compost, whereas non-organic waste will be sold to trash collectors or recycled accordingly, and a kampong greening program. People from all stratums of society were involved in this waste management program to ensure the most optimum result is achieved. There were two main activities involved during the implementation of this program. The first being socialisation to shed some light on the proposed waste management program; aimed at raising community awareness, and changing the people’s general perspective towards garbage. Socialisation was carried out by city officials, and/or social groups, throughout Surabaya’s 163 sub-districts within 31 administrative districts. Cadres are trained to encourage environmentally aware social figures. These cadres were chosen by social groups that oversee waste management training programs in the immediate area. Continuous monitoring will be done by city officials, social groups, and the mass media. Citizens will then be assisted by horticulture and sanitary officials who cooperate with social groups such as Bangun Pertiwi, Sahabat Lingkungan, Pusdakota, BLTKI, etc. To encourage people’s spirits and interest in the proposed waste management program, sanitary equipments such as compost bins, takakura baskets, and garbage wagons were handed out to the immediate society. Compost processing plants were also built in some areas. The mass media is given a crucial role in promoting and monitoring the Green & Clean Program; Free from Garbage.
Composting can be used
as an alternative to landfill as concern about landfill space constantly increase. Worldwide interest in recycling by means of composting is growing since composting is a widely accepted process for converting decomposable wastes of natural origin into stable, sanitized products useful for horticulture. In Surabaya’s case, since most of the waste that occupies the landfill is organic matter, therefore a successful composting program will greatly reduce landfill load.
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