Bantar Gebang, From Garbage into Energy Conservation Programs
One of the memorable times I’ve had in my life is when I visited the largest wasteland in Indonesia. It was a risky and daring journey to visit such place, only a handful of students would do so to record the scenery there. I went there with a friend and my drivers to record the society and the environment within Bantar Gebang. The recording was made for a school project that requires a highlight on major issues within the country. We specifically chose this place because we saw that it was lacking media attention and we thought it would be helpful to fulfill that.
Going to Bantar Gebang by car was one of the most challenging aspects in this project. First, we had to locate the wasteland. Since we could not find it online, we decided to search for it using Google Maps manually which takes time. After locating it, we tagged it on our Maps app in our phone and headed straight there. We were lost several times until my driver saw a dumpster truck and suggested that we should follow it, since there were no other wastelands other than what we were looking for.
Bantar Gebang is currently Indonesia’s largest wasteland with over 6500 tons of trash from the surrounding area, mostly from Jakarat, poured into the land daily. The land is so massive until the view of the horizon from the center of the wasteland does not even show the edge of it. The land is filled with mountains of garbage about 40 meters high. The people living there work as scavengers, trying to pick items that can be used and sold to be recycled. I can assure everyone that when I went there, I concluded that the place is one of the most unpleasant places to visit. Life is very tough and non-hygenic there, but the people there had no choice.
With over a million hectares of land, this area had been divided so that different groups of scavengers can fairly get a similar amount of recyclable materials that they can sell. Their daily income comes from these. A major problem I saw was the poor living condition within the area forces people to live with inevitable health issues. Unfortunately, with the number of trash increasing everyday, it is unlikely that such problem could be solved unless the government comes into play. The new president has represented a new health policy that would provide medical care to those who cannot afford this would really help the people living there.
Due to the rapid annual increase of population, the number of trash and garbage also increases. With this in mind, the government urged to solve by reducing trash that are there in Bantar Gebang to avoid expansion. This issue might have already been partially solved a few years ago thanks to an advanced technology. Most recent problems that has surfaced recently was the issue of the people living there. It would be better if the government provides a better shelter that would decrease health problems caused by living nearby or beside a wasteland. We are hoping that through this video, it will attract media attention or broadcast information about the situation in Bantar Gebang.
It’s not just a wasteland, it’s a power plant!
What many Indonesian’s do not know is that Bantar Gebang is known to produce about 550 Kw of electricity that is sent throughout the island of Java until Bali. This significant power plant generates electricity by using a complex process where it converts it into methane and allow it to power generators. There is always a bright side within something. In Bantar Gebang’s case, it has set to become and example for other large wastelands to convert waste into electricity rather than stacking them, which would increase pollution around their area.