Jakarta, Indonesia, one of the largest cities in Asia, a city already prone to flooding because of its location near a river delta, has another problem – trash dumping. Jakarta has a population near 10 million people and according to the city’s public works department, about twenty percent of the cities daily waste ends up in rivers, canals, and streams within the city. Bejo Santoso, and several other people are stationed around the city striving to fight and clear the trash out the rivers to increase the cleanliness of the rivers and also to reduce the flooding. These men have removed “refrigerators, televisions, mattresses, and furniture…sometimes they find human corpses.” With the rivers and waterways in the city being blocked 75% with man-made waste and debris, the local authorities, the national government and international donors are combining efforts to dredge, or clean out the bed of a river, the river for the first time in forty years.

While some citizens who live in the riverbank communities have always treated Jakarta’s rivers as a trash can, this belief needs to be changed to increase the health and safety of the capital city.  The clogging of rivers in Jakarta is a serious issue that needs dealt with because it has been the cause of serious illness, environmental problems such as flooding, displaced millions of people, and the city has lost billions of dollars fighting this issue. A major cause of the worsening river conditions has been caused by the citizens of Jakarta, but also the government should be blamed because they refused to dredge the riverways from 1970 to 2010. Just recently in 2012, a dredging project has begun to restore the waters to their normal depth and cleanliness. I hope they can provide a cleaner water system that will improve the health and safety of Jakarta by preventing floods and illness.

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