Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Thirteen rivers flowing north to Jakarta Bay bring at least 14,000 cubic meters of mostly household garbage each day, or about half of the total of 28,435 cu m of garbage that pollutes the sea.
Head of the pollution control unit at the City Environment Management Board (BPLHD) Ridwan Panjaitan said based on a recent study most of the floating garbage in Jakarta Bay was made up of plastic products.
"Fifty four percent of the floating garbage in Jakarta Bay is made up of plastics and the 13 rivers continue to transport a huge amount of trash," he told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
The study said 24 percent of waste was from wood-related products but the remainder was made up of rubber and garment material.
The Kepulauan Seribu regency regularly deployed four boats and a barge with the capacity to hold 40 tons to clean up the sea before disposing of garbage at Bantar Gebang dump in Bekasi, Ridwan said.
"It is a boring job for the administration but few households care about treating their domestic trash and many simply throw it in the rivers."
The correct treatment of waste at the household level would be key to improving waste management in the capital, he said.
The administration last year allocated Rp 10 billion (US$1.1 million) to research the chronic problem of waste in Jakarta Bay.
"We are still formulating a plan of action to settle Jakarta Bay's problems," Ridwan said.
He said his office would try to clean Pantai Indah Kapuk in North Jakarta as a pilot project.
"Through this project we will determine who should filter the garbage in the river and who should be responsible for its transportation to the dump," he said.
The administration has long been under pressure to treat its growing waste, which is mostly domestic garbage.
The capital currently produces more than 6,000 tons of garbage per day and dumps it to Bantar Gebang sanitary landfill.
The increase of garbage in Jakarta Bay came after the administrations of Jakarta, Banten and Bogor agreed to rehabilitate the rivers.
Under the 2006 agreement, it is Jakarta's responsibility to increase the quality of Ciliwung River, Banten's responsibility to fix Cisadane River and West Java province's to clean the Citarum River.
Environmentalist said the garbage pollution in Jakarta Bay would further damage coral reefs and endanger turtles.
The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) said the poor coordination of authorities was the main reason the waste problem remained unresolved in Jakarta Bay.
"Maintenance of the river is under the Public Works Ministry while the quality of the water in the river is handled by the State Ministry for the Environment," Walhi executive director for Jakarta Slamet Daroyni said.
"But it is not clear who is responsible for the waste in the rivers."
There are 13 rivers that pass through Jakarta and West Java provinces, which means the main responsibility should be in the hands of the central government, he said.
Slamet said he was worried the city sanitation agency could not treat the waste in the sea because it could not solve dry land waste problems.
He also asked the administration to tightly monitor companies operating near the rivers.