Tuesday, March 12, 2013


   Jakarta, March 12, 2013 (Antara) - Indonesian Environmental Affairs Minister Balthasar Kambuaya has envisioned the establishment of trash banks in every city in the country having the population of around 257 million - the world's fourth most populous nation after China, India and the United States.
         The ministry has set a target to develop at least 25 trash banks in each of 250 cities across Indonesia by 2014.
         "Currently, not all Indonesian districts and cities have trash banks. Only 55 districts and cities have established trash banks. Many others have not had such banks yet," Minister Kambuaya said recently when inaugurating "Super Depo" trash bank at Sutorejo area, Surabaya, East Java Province.  
    The government has been encouraging all regional administrations to establish trash banks because garbage or trash has become one of the serious problems facing cities throughout the world, he stated.

         Trash bank program encourages the public to implement 3R principles, namely reduce, recycle and reuse in order to preserve the environment and at the same time to develop grass root economic.
          The program should become a momentum to improve the people's collective awareness of environmentally friendly waste treatment and make it a new culture in Indonesia, the minister stated.
          According to the minister, the existing 1,136 trash banks have involved 29,203 workers and generated turnover worth more than Rp15 billion.
          Sudirman, an assistant to the deputy minister of environmental affairs, however, said Indonesia has set up at least 1,195 trash banks in 55 cities in 17 provinces of the country's 34 provinces over the past two years, 
     In fact, he believed that the actual number of the existing trash banks now might be higher than 1,195 which was based on the data collected in December 2012.
          "We had initially set up five trash banks as models, but within two years, there have been 1,195 trash banks. It's incredible," Sudirman said.
          Minister Kambuaya said if trash or  waste is properly managed, the volume could be reduced up to 50 percent. "Besides, it could also increase the income of local people," the minister said.
           Scavengers will not lose their job with the presence of trash banks, in fact they are given training in waste treatment so they could participate in the activities of the trash banks."They become cleaner and can receive extra earnings," he said.
           In Indonesia, scavengers or informal solid waste collectors have played important role in promoting recycling. They collect and select certain wastes such as plastics, papers, cartoons, glass containers and metals from households' outdoor dustbins and sell them to independent recycling companies. 
    In addition to their contribution in reducing waste handling costs, the scavengers earn money from what they are doing. It becomes their regular job.
         The setting up of the trash banks was supported by  funds allocated by the environmental affairs ministry to encourage cities to have such banks. The ministry, however, said it has limited funds to establish trash banks .
         A trash bank is a place to collect, select and distribute wastes to other waste treatment facilities or to those needing wastes to be further  recycled and reused.
         Similar to a conventional bank, a trash bank also has its managerial system and clients who do savings in the form of wastes. The trash banks will give the value of the deposited garbage and record the value of the savings in the clients' saving books.
         The main keys in the process are garbage selecting and sorting based on the types and conditions of the trashes that will be recycled and reused. This process will significantly reduce the actual volume of solid wastes that will end up in landfills. Indonesia has only around 80 good landfill sites.
         The government has regulated waste management through Law Number 18/008 on Waste Treatment and the Government Regulation Number 81/2012 on Household Waste Treatment and Those Similar to Household Wastes.     
     In line with the Law No. 18/2008 on waste treatment, every household has the responsibility to treat its trash and the people should not leave the waste management to the government alone.
         Proper waste management is one of the preconditions for a city to win Adipura Award.   
      A city that does not have a trash bank will not win clean city award "Adipura" because it means the city has not implemented the 3R principles - reuse, reduce and recycle, he said.
         Surabaya has established a sister city cooperation with Japan's Ketakyushu city which has given modern technologies for waste treatment in "Super Depo" trash banks in Sukorejo and Keputih areas.
         The minister told the Surabaya mayor that the city should become a center for waste treatment training because the city has the modern technology for it.
          Several foreign countries such as Japan, South Korea, Germany and Singapore have established cooperation in waste and water management with Indonesia. 
    According to German-based Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association (BORDA), more than 22.5 million tons of garbage are generated in Indonesia every year. In 2020, Indonesians are expected to throw away 53.7 million tons. BORDA estimates that the world will produce some 1.8 million tons of trash each day by the year 2025.
        BORDA sees great potential in finding sustainable and eco-friendly ways to process garbage. Therefore, the non-profit organization has already invested 120,000 Euros in 15 waste processing facilities in Indonesia.
        Last February 2013, Minister Kambuaya expressed his support to a plan to implement a trash bank program in the Maluku provincial capital of Ambon because trash could have economic value if treated properly.
         "Waste would be treated properly through the trash bank program to improve the people's welfare," the minister said.
          He called on the commitment of the Ambon administration and business circle to the realization of the trash banks in the city.
         "It's time to see trashes as somethings that have a value and not just things that could be wasted," he said.
           Waste could not be handled by the government alone, but it should be managed integratedly to produce economic benefits and to change the people's habit, he stated.
             "The basic principle of environmentally friendly waste treatment should begin with a change in our habit in treating trashes," the minister added.  
       Ambon Mayor Richard Louhenapessy said he hailed the trash bank program initiated by the environmental affairs ministry and would soon establish trash banks in the city. ***4***

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