People who live around the Bantar Gebang landfill outside Jakarta have demanded more compensation from the Indonesian government.
The landfill is home to most of the waste generated by Jakarta’s 10 million citizens. It is the largest garbage dump in the country, covering 110 hectares. Locals have named it “The Mountain,” and its stench reaches residents as much as 10 kilometers away.
Currently, people living around Bantar Gebang are given 200,000 rupiahs (US$13) a month as compensation, better known as uang bau – “smelly money” – for putting up with the smell. However, some say this is not enough and are demanding more money.
One of these local residents, Somad, told Kompas.com that the foul smell had increased people’s living costs. Other residents have also spoken out about the inconveniences they face, such as the cost of buying water, as the local water is too dirty and polluted.
Statistics indicate that about 18,000 families live in three villages surrounding the landfill, 6,000 of which make their living by picking trash.
Ariyanto Hendrata, a local council member, said there was no indication that the Indonesian capital will reduce its generation of waste any time soon. She added that the authorities had put the value of the local residents’ health at only 200,000 rupiah a month, which is outrageous.
Besides Jakarta itself, the dump is located near the city of Bekasi, whose mayor, Rahmat Effendi, is set to meet this week with Jakarta authorities to discuss compensation and environmental problems.
Indonesia is a prominent producer of plastic waste, and is the second-biggest contributor to plastic pollution in the oceans behind China.