A child rides a bicycle near the severely polluted Pisang Batu River in Bekasi district, West Java, on Jan. 8. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
River of Garbage
BY : YUDHA BASKORO
JANUARY 13, 2019
The Pisang Batu River flowing through Pahlawan Setia village in Bekasi district, West Java, turned into a 1.5-kilometer-long garbage canal on Jan. 5, after it became choked with discarded plastic and household items believed to have originated further upstream.
The local authorities have embarked on a cleanup operation to remove the garbage, using two excavators and several trucks. About 700 metric tons of waste have so far been removed from the small river, which was previously overgrown by water hyacinths, a highly invasive aquatic plant native to tropical and subtropical South America.
While it is still common in Indonesia to use rivers for waste disposal, there is increasing public awareness to refrain from this practice. Besides the environmental cost and associated health risks, the pollution also causes flooding during heavy rain.