- Title: New lease of life for Indonesian river inspires residents to protect environment
- Date: 31st December 2016
- Summary: DEPOK, WEST JAVA PROVINCE, INDONESIA (DECEMBER 18, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF ARI NOVANTO RAHMAN AND SANDRA FIDELIA NOVIANTI SITTING ON A DECORATED RUBBER BOAT AND TRAVELLING ON CILIWUNG RIVER AS THEY GO TO THEIR WEDDING CEREMONY VENUE CILIWUNG RIVER FAMILY MEMBERS OF RAHMAN AND NOVIANTI TAKING PHOTOS VARIOUS OF RAHMAN AND NOVIANTI WALKING ON SHORE BANNER READING (Bahasa Indonesia) "FREE CILIWUNG FROM TRASH AND WASTE" RAHMAN AND NOVIANTI STANDING ON THE STAGE, IN FRONT A BANNER READING (Bahasa Indonesia): "THROWING TRASH INTO CILIWUNG IS DISASTER IN MAKING" (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) GROOM, ARI NOVANTO RAHMAN, SAYING: "This is very meaningful and I hope it can become an inspiration for other young people. We have shown our love for our language, culture, now we should start to show our love for the environment. This wedding has inspired everyone, including myself." GUESTS CONGRATULATING THE COUPLE VARIOUS OF BARRELS PICKED UP FROM RIVER USED AS DRUMS COUPLE POSING FOR PHOTOS WITH GUESTS (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) FOUNDER OF DEPOK CILIWUNG COMMUNITY, TAUFIQ DESO, SAYING: "The city government has not paid too much attention to Ciliwung River, but we believe with local residents participating in routine activities, it will draw the government's attention to the issue."
- Embargoed: 15th January 2017 02:38
- Keywords: Indonesia environment river Ciliwung pollution water trash eviction floods
- Location: JAKARTA, DEPOK, WEST JAVA PROVINCE, INDONESIA
- City: JAKARTA, DEPOK, WEST JAVA PROVINCE, INDONESIA
- Country: Indonesia
- Topics: Pollution,Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA0015F7R0W5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Sitting in a rubber dinghy decorated with flowers and drifting down Ciliwung River, an Indonesian couple held an unconventional wedding ceremony, hoping to raise awareness on preserving the environment.
Novanto Rahman and Sandra Fidelia Novianti, a young couple both in their 20s, grew up by the banks of the Ciliwung River.
Snaking 119 kilometres from Depok, West Java province, to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, the river plays an important role in the livelihoods of tens of thousands of residents and was the centre of trade in the 17th century.
It was almost impossible to paddle through the muddy stream barely a year ago, when the river was filled with rubbish from homes and plastic waste.
For their wedding, used barrels thrown into the river were turned into drums played at the ceremony.
"This is very meaningful and I hope it can become an inspiration for other young people. We have shown our love for our language, culture, now we should start to show our love for the environment. This wedding has inspired everyone, including myself," said Rahman after a simple wedding ceremony joined by their families and friends.
Rahman's new wife, Novianti, is an active volunteer of Depok Ciliwung Community, which started an initiative to clean up the river with the local government in 2015.
For over a year, hundreds of volunteers picked up trash with their bare hands and plucked out plastic waste from the riverbed.
To encourage others to join in the preservation efforts, they organise group activities like paddling down Ciliwung River.
"The city government has not paid too much attention to Ciliwung River, but we believe with local residents participating in routine activities, it will draw the government's attention to the issue," said founder of Depok Ciliwung Community, Taufiq Deso.
Depok and neighbouring Bogor, the cities in West Java province which are part of Greater Jakarta metropolitan, are often blamed for contributing to the rubbish, which eventually floats downstream and clogs the river.
Greater Jakarta, an agglomeration of 28 million people, sits on a swampy plain that has sunk 13 feet (4 metres) over the past three decades. Unable to flow into Jakarta bay, the sewage-choked river had been redirected into canals causing floods in low-lying areas.
Despite the water quality, low-income communities living in illegal settlements by the bank use the river water to wash clothes and shower, contributing to the waste and clogging the river.
Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama had pushed to evict and relocate them, which has resulted in less serious floods.
About 9 km of the 19-km cleanup has been done so far. Environmental activists said there has been a significant improvement as trash on the surface of Ciliwung River has decreased to about 10 to 20 percent.
But they are also calling for better law enforcement.
"Although there's an existing law (to protect the environment), law enforcement in Indonesia is very weak. Despite evidence showing that a few companies are guilty of releasing waste into the river, these companies are still able to continue their operations. It is obvious that the efforts of law enforcement in Indonesia are still insufficient," said Dwi Sawung, an activist from non-government organization Indonesia Forum for Environment (WALHI).
Workers employed by the government are tasked to catch those who litter, be it on the streets or in the river.
Fines cost anywhere from 500 thousand to five million rupiah ($37-370), which is unaffordable for most of the residents living in the slums along Ciliwung River. Many of them earn an average wage of $3 per day.
"So far we have collected over 200 million rupiah ($14,800) of fines from those who were caught throwing rubbish into canals or rivers. But some residents were unable to pay the fine so in return we make them help to clean the city by picking up trash for one or two hours," said head of Jakarta's Sanitation Department, Isnawa Adji.
He said the government hopes to clear all the rivers in Jakarta of rubbish by the end of 2020.
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