Mr. President, Let’s Enforce Indonesian Waste Regulations!

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Our dear President Mr. Joko Widodo,

With all due respect, we are extremely grateful for the support you’ve given in 2016, to achieve a clean and zero-waste Indonesia, our beloved country.

Mr. President, it’s that time of the year again: 21 February. Even as time passes by, it is hard to forget such a tragedy that occurred 13 years ago in Leuwigajah, Bandung, West Java. The calamity buried 141 people as methane explosion and “wasteslide” occurred. Three villages consisting of 71 houses vanished within hours. We remember it every year as a way to raise our awareness regarding waste in Indonesia.

It’s been quite a while, but honestly, nothing much has changed. We still have a whole lot of troubles in social and environmental aspects, such as:

Our waste destroy our marine ecosystem.
A research done by Dr. Jenna Jambeck and team from the University of Georgia (USA) in 2015 has humiliated Indonesia as the second highest contributor of plastic waste into the ocean. Regardless of the validity of the research, we cannot deny that our marine environment has been affected, which also impacts our health and economy, as Indonesia is a maritime country.

Our rivers are heavily contaminated.
It has been reported that Citarum is one of the dirtiest rivers in the world. Another example is Pesanggrahan River, in West Java, which is contaminated by leachate leaking from Cipayung landfill.

Human rights are threatened.
Tangible and intangible adverse impacts, caused by the mix of waste and mismanagement of waste, are faced by waste collectors in our landfills, who are the direct victims.,

Mr. President, other countries have had similar problems with us. Another inspiration comes from Taiwan, an island smaller than Java, which used to be known as “Waste Island”. In 1998, the citizens of Taiwan produced 1.143 kilograms of waste per person per day. In 2013, that amount has dropped to 0.387 kilograms per person per day. The secret? They came up with REGULATIONS ALONG WITH THE STRICT LAW ENFORCEMENT.

Up to this day, we have two specific regulations related to waste management. One of them is Act (UU) No. 18 Year 2008 and the other is Government Regulation (PP) No. 81 Year 2012. Unfortunately, our law enforcement is still far below requirement, even though we need them desperately in order to establish a good waste management and to make our dream come true: a clean, and even zero waste Indonesia.

Some articles of UU 18 Y2008 that have not been enforced:

  1. Article 8 (provincial and district waste management plan)
  2. Article 12 (household and waste reduction)
  3. Article 21 (incentive and disincentive for waste reduction)
  4. Article 44 (closing of open dumping landfill 5 years since regulation in place)

Some articles of PP 81 Y2012 that have not been enforced:

  1. Article 7-9 (provincial and district waste regulation and master plan)
  2. Article 10 verse 2 (personal responsibility to reduce and segregate waste)
  3. Article 14 (producer waste reduction and recycling plan)
  4. Article 17 verse 4 (provincial, district, and city provision for infrastructure)

Mr. President, this letter to you is our SHARED ASPIRATION. Together with friends from Indonesia and across the globe who care about waste management in Indonesia, we are opening our hearts and our hands so that you can join us. We want you to become the head of our spear that pierces through this issue, once and for all. We want you to lead this law enforcement regarding waste management in Indonesia, to ensure that every related sectors in the government (at national, provincial and district levels), private and public TAKE THEIR RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WASTE PRODUCED. It would be a great pleasure if you are willing to have a private audience with us so that we can deliver a policy note to you, Mr. President, as a part of the solution that we recommend.

There isn’t much time left. The problem is a snowball that keeps rolling down the hill and it’s getting bigger. Now it’s looming over us, threatening to take us with it. It’s the time for us to TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION. We believe that TOGETHER WE CAN enforce the law and create the Indonesia of our dream, a nation with an inspiring act in waste management policy.


Jakarta, 21st February 2018

The people of Indonesia and

our global friends who believe in a clean, zero waste Indonesia



Volunteers for Clean and Bergerak untuk Indonesia #BebasSampah2020

Read the Indonesian version!