Money grows on angsana trees
City News – March 08, 2007

Just a week after cleanup crews had finished clearing flood debris from the streets, the city administration began pruning aging trees to reduce the risk of branches breaking off in the strong winds that accompany the rainy season.

Dozens of trucks were seen carrying away foliage and bigger branches.

Suyadi, the head of Pancoran subdistrict’s parks agency, said that for every tree that was trimmed, there was a truckload of leaves and branches.

“But we don’t know where to dump it as there is no empty place in our area now,” Suyadi told The Jakarta Post.

“We previously took timber to a vacant property of ours in Srengseng, West Jakarta, but it’s already full.”

Suyadi and 10 workers from the parks agency pruned the angsana trees on Jl. MT. Haryono in South Jakarta last week.

There are more than 6,000 angsana trees in Pancoran.

The pruning program is taking place in 10 subdistricts of South Jakarta.

With one chain saw between them, Suyadi and his team prune at least two trees a day.

He said his staff sold some of the branches to food vendors in the area.

“It is up to them. I don’t know how much they get — I guess it’s like a bonus for them. The most important thing is the area is cleaned up as quickly as possible.”

Cleanup crews spent more than a week removing some 170,000 cubic meters of mud, garbage and debris from the streets following February’s devastating floods.

The administration deployed more than 300 trucks, most of them loaned from businesspeople, to take the garbage to Bantar Gebang dump in Bekasi.

Disposing of the 6,000 tons of waste it produces daily has long posed a problem for the city. At present, most of its rubbish is dumped in the neighboring city of Bekasi.

Jakarta earlier built a waste treatment plant in Bojong, Bogor, to reduce its dependency on Bantar Gebang. However, locals demanded the plant — which was to have had separate systems for treating organic and non-organic waste — be relocated.