Jakarta – For the past three months, SMP 21 state junior high school in Tangerang on Jl. Halim Perdana Kusuma, Belendung, Benda, Tangerang, Banten has been surrounded by mounds of dirt around 3 meters high used for the construction of the Kunciran – Soekarno Hatta Airport Toll Road project.
Signs reading "careful of construction project" and "careful of slippery road" were seen near the school and the construction project.
However, the construction has taken its toll on the health of teachers and students as well as the school's cleanliness.
"We clean our school every day. We water the lawn, sweep the buildings, but they remain dirty due to the dust [from the construction project]," SMP 21 acting headmaster Sarnoto said on Friday, kompas.com reported.
He said the toll road project manager, state-owned PT Wijaya Karya Tbk, had not informed the school about the construction project.
"There was no [information]. The construction suddenly began. I actually have no problem with it as long as this dust can be removed and the construction can be quickly finished," Sarnoto said.
He said that WIKA had watered the dirt mounds last Wednesday to reduce the dust. He wished that if WIKA wanted to continue the project it should supply the students with masks to protect them from the dust.
According to Sarnoto, both students and teachers had often sneezed and coughed since the construction began.
"Before the holiday, the students had felt the dust from this project. Sneezing and coughing have become common. After school, some students are on litter-picking duty and they complain about the dust," Sarnoto said.
He said that during heavy rainfall students usually had to walk a kilometer away from the school building because public transportation could not reach the school due to the slippery road.
He said he also forbade the teachers from berating the students for coming late because of those reasons.
Sarnoto said the school might not be able to compete for the Adiwiyata award, a competition run by the Environment and Forestry Ministry that recognizes environmental efforts in schools, because of the dust from the toll road construction project. (ami)