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Indonesia Makes 200,000 Tons of Waste per Day. Will Integrated Urban Waste Management Help?

With an inadequate waste management system so far, serious challenges are looming.

Source: Claudio Schwarz [6]

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Urban waste is a problem that has not been resolved systematically and sustainably in Indonesia. Most of the waste ends up in a landfill, which creates another problem since it is not followed by further processing. More importantly, mismanaged waste in landfills often results in groundwater and methane gas pollution [1].

A study by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) shows that there are still 40% of districts/cities who operate landfills with an open dumping system despite Law No. 18/2008 specifically prohibits such system and mandate local governments to close such landfills who violate the law [2]. In other words, there is a lack of enforcement regarding to waste management.

Source: KHLK [7]

One primary example is Jakarta. As the largest metropolitan city in the world, Jakarta is the largest producer of waste on a national level. According to data from the Environmental Statistics, Jakarta produced as much as 8,292 kg (7,702 m3) of waste per day with 93% of waste transported in 2019. However, the number of waste management sites that apply 3R (Reuse, Reduce and Recycle) principle is still minimal [3].

The Bantar Gebang landfill is expected to exceed capacity within the next two years. Currently, the majority of waste are still unsorted, and only a small amount is processed into compost. Even so, there are more than 7,000 scavengers who make their livelihood sorting out garbage [4].

Source: Tom Fisk [8]

In efforts towards pandemic recovery, there are calls for rebuilding with sustainable principles in mind. Urbanization along with increasing levels of consumptions have underlined the importance of prioritizing waste management. The application of circular economy is considered to be more effective and sustainable, and Indonesia has issued Presidential Regulation No. 97 of 2017 on waste management which applies it.

Early 2021, the Ministry of National Development Planning published the report, which shows that circularity, particularly in the five main sectors of the economy (food and beverage, textiles, construction, wholesale and retail, and electrical and electronic equipment) can be a key component in strengthening the economy while preserving the environment [5].


By adopting circular economy, there are multiple potential benefits: increasing Indonesia's GDP to IDR 638 trillion compared to the business-as-usual approach in 2030; 4.4 million green jobs could be created between 2021 and 2030, reducing 126 million tonnes of CO2eq emissions and reducing water use by 6.3 billion cubic meters by 2030, and the average household in Indonesia could save IDR 4.9 million annually [5].

However, these potential benefits must be supported by the readiness of an integrated system and active collaboration between all parties. Regional leaders need to increase their capacity of their respective institutions in order to be effective in carrying out the waste crisis mitigation program. The availability of facilities that involve companies, civil society organizations and the community, as well as the explicit incentives and disincentives will also strengthen existing policies.







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