Jakarta – Residents of Bahagia (happy) subdistrict in North Bekasi, West Java, joined on Tuesday workers and other stakeholders to remove solid waste, mostly plastics, from the Bahagia River, located close to their homes.
The residents of the subdistrict, local subdistrict office workers and police and military personnel were involved in the cleanup, which started at 7:30 a.m. They were armed with only bamboo sticks and other simple tools.
Local people call the river Kali Busa (Foam River). It is located on the border between Bekasi regency and Bekasi city.
"This is an emergency response. The local environment agency supports us. There are 10 military personnel, five subdistrict office representatives and 10 police officers," Bahagia subdistrict secretary Mawardi said as quoted by kompas.com.
"We're focusing on [removing] light domestic waste using these simple tools," he said, adding that heavy equipment would be deployed later to dredge silt from the river.
The trash was collected in sacks before being loaded onto a garbage truck. Mawardi said the residents could go home at any time because they were volunteers.
In the last five months, the surface of 1.5 kilometers of the Bahagia Rver has been covered by non-organic domestic waste like polystyrene, plastic bags and bottles. The agency estimates that there is 400 tons of garbage in the river.
Cleaning up the river using heavy equipment will not be easy as 204 shanties are located on the riverbanks. (vla/bbn)