End Littering and Burning of Trash
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I stood by the railing that separated me from the vast sea in front of me. Taking a deep breath, I thought to myself how lucky I was to be able to see such a beautiful sight in my own country. However, my thoughts were interrupted by a tourist standing next to me. “How dirty! I’m never coming back here again,” she complained. Turning back to the sea I was looking at, it was as if my eyes were opened. Tiny ‘islands’ of garbage were floating in the water that I thought was beautiful just a few moments ago.
Trash in both the streets and water bodies in Surabaya is an obvious issue, but there is also another significant problem that is threatening our environment - trash burning. In kampungs, fields, yards, and roadsides, you can often spot smoldering black piles of what used to be trash. The smoke from burning plastic, styrofoam, and other waste spreads and affects the people living or working nearby. Don’t you think it’s ironic that these very people are the ones that create this smoke?
Sadly, a lot of locals still don’t know the dangers of burning trash, especially plastic. Not only does burning plastic release greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, it also produces toxic chemicals called dioxins. Dioxins can cause cancer, heart disease, damage to the immune system, birth defects and developmental problems in children, and many other health issues that can be fatal.
Simply throwing trash out of our homes is also not a good idea, as most of it usually ends up clogging our sewer systems, leading to floods and widespread diseases. The rest of the trash is left to float freely around our beautiful oceans and destroy the ecosystem.
The root of these problems is not only the lack of conscience in people, but also the lack of effort the government is putting into instilling this conscience into the people. Several laws have been passed to prevent people from littering and burning trash, but they are not very successful. If we want people to follow the rules, we need to make sure they know why the rules are there in the first place.
Therefore, we propose these following changes to be made to our city of Surabaya.
- Improve education to make sure that all children are taught in schools about the harmful effects of burning trash. Currently, the 9 years of standard Indonesian curriculum does not teach this.
- Make stricter rules and punishments for burning trash. Those caught burning trash should be given a warning. If they fail to listen to this warning, they must be fined at least Rp. 500.000,00. Moreover, those who are found burning trash within a 1 km radius of schools or hospitals should be fined an extra Rp. 500.000,00.
- Employ the unemployed to collect trash from roadsides, sewers, canals, and rivers.
- Advertise the proper disposal of trash. This can be done in the same way the destruction of narcotics is being advertised right now - through short clips before movies in cinemas and on billboards. This campaign can also be made online to take advantage of the widespread use of social media.
Burning trash or throwing it away carelessly is not the way to get rid of our waste. We need to take action to stop these activities before our environment and health suffer the consequences. Make Indonesia the beautiful place that it was, that it should be, and will become.
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Aileen Liman membutuhkan bantuanmu untuk mengajukan petisi "Tri Rismaharini: End Littering and Burning of Trash". Bergabunglah dengan Aileen dan 110 pendukung lainnya hari ini.