Corner-cutting residents dump trash in lake
City News – March 14, 2007
Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Tangerang

Abdul Hamid, the caretaker of a public cemetery near Lake Gintung in Ciputat, Tangerang, is dumbfounded by what goes on at the lake every day.

He said garbagemen dumped rubbish in the lake almost every morning after collecting it from homes in the neighborhood.

“I don’t get it. Most of the people who live here are well-educated, including the hundreds of staff and students of the UIN (State Islamic University),” he told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

“But none of them care about the environment.”

All household waste in the area is allegedly dumped into the lake due to the absence of a dump.

It seems that in this case education has little bearing on environmental awareness.

Abdul does not profess to be an expert in these matters. In his own words, he is just an uneducated fellow who happens to be supervising the two-hectare cemetery in Pisangan Barat Kampong, Cirendeu, which lies on the southern side of the lake.

Residents who are on average incomes (middle-class) are generally more environmentally aware and prepared to make a personal contribution to saving the environment.

But, in this case, Abdul is the only one to have made the point that the garbage is seriously polluting the lake, which functions as a water catchment.

The rubbish has turned the lake into an eyesore and its stench fills the air.

“I cannot do anything to stop them. The community unit collects the garbage in a push cart every morning and transports it to the shore of the lake,” Abdul said.

Witnessing the same thing happen Tuesday morning he said it was probably the thousandth time he had seen garbage dumped in the lake in the last 10 years.

It was not until recently that community unit chief Margoni Hasan said he had met with residents to discuss building a dump.

But 10 years is enough time for the waste to have reclaimed part of the lake — the part hidden from view by the UIN postgraduate campus, which raises another issue.

The university allegedly violated its building permit when it established the campus on Jl. Kerta Mukti.

The Tangerang administration earlier issued an ordinance on lake and river management, which prohibits the construction of any building within 50 meters of a river or lake.

Eddy Harsya, a resident of the area, said the administration should take action against the university as it did against the developer of a lakeside shopping mall in Pamulang.

“We filed complaints with the administration long before the construction of the campus buildings started in 2003,” he said.

The Tangerang regency administration halted the construction of Pamulang Square following a meeting with mall construction company executives and the public order agency last week.

While the new shopping center is still 30 meters away from Lake Cileduk, the UIN buildings are on the shore of Lake Gintung.

Mursan Sobari, the supervisor of development at the regency’s building and resettlement agency, said he was not aware of the violation but promised to inspect the location in the near future.