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Foto: Thehero

Jakarta's green monsters

Jakarta Green Monster is a volunteer community that care and want to participate in environmental conservation, especially wetland conservation. Most of its members are youth and student. Fauna & Flora International is supporting the local grass roots group in its work to reduce waste contamination in the highly biodiverse Angke river, and encourage interest among the community in the wetland conservation area.

 

 

Java is the most populous island in Indonesia providing many contrasts of scenery, people, religion and culture. The island boasts immense beauty, from peaceful villages and a beautiful, fertile countryside to smoking volcanoes and ancient monuments. However there is also an unattractive side visible in its dirty, overcrowded cities, particularly the capital of Jakarta, clogged with traffic and pollution, with evident differences in wealth and wretched poverty amongst the people.

 

The existence of wetlands in a metropolis like Jakarta is crucial to the wellbeing of the city and its residents. Wetlands nurture wildlife, absorb excess rainwater and provide a recreation area for local communities. However, the wetland ecosystems of Jakarta are severely threatened due to high levels of pollution and the massive dumping of liquid and solid waste. This has a serious impact on the coastal wetlands - the natural habitats of this area are now seriously fragmented and degraded. Those that live closest to the wetlands are extremely vulnerable and exposed to flooding and the spread of diseases due to poor sanitation.

 

The last remnants of Jakarta’s urban coastal wetlands are the protected forest of Angke Kapuk and the Muara Angke wildlife sanctuary. Both protected areas provide critical environmental services such as flood retention and coastline protection for more than 10 million inhabitants of the northern part of the Jakarta metropolitan area. Not only are these areas important for the protection of the urban environment of Jakarta, and the people who live there, but also these wetlands are critical for biodiversity conservation, acting as the feeding grounds for large numbers of globally threatened waterfowl. They provide the last refuge for some of Java's endemic birds, such as the threatened Javan Coucal and the Black-winged Starling.

 

Problems and threats

Most of Jakarta’s coastal wetland has been converted and reclaimed for real estate and industrial development. Jakarta’s wetlands have now shrunk to less than 6 per cent of the city area, and will keep diminishing unless serious action is taken to stop their destruction. Water pollution as a result of the unregulated disposal of liquid and solid waste is prolific. Rivers are effectively being used for waste disposal, receiving 17 per cent of the 35,000 cubic metres of garbage the population of Jakarta generates daily. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that only 50 per cent of Jakarta’s waste is collected by municipal authorities. Rivers polluted by heavy metal, especially mercury, and pesticides have now surpassed acceptable limits. As a result, the natural habitats of this area are much reduced in area, and seriously fragmented and degraded.

 

The Angke River estuary and the surrounding neighbourhoods is one of the poorest areas of Jakarta with 24,416 people living in a slum of 2,000 small houses. On average, 2-3 families with 10-15 people are crammed into a living space of less than 20 square metres. 50 per cent of the inhabitants are engaged in low wage employment, while the remainder struggle to make a living in the informal sector. The frequent flooding not only has a financial impact on these already poor communities but the waste dumping and lack of sanitation causes severe health problems such as skin diseases, dengue fever, and diarrhoea.

 

Objectives

The Jakarta Green Monster (JGM) programme aims to create a sustainable, healthy environment in the capital through mangrove planting, clean-up actions and educational workshops, whilst implementing sustainable income generation projects. Overall, the aforementioned actions will lead to reduced flooding, the prevention of coastal erosion, increasing biodiversity, and open, green spaces for local residents. Income generation projects will also be able to flourish in the wake of a cleaner environment providing much needed resource to this deprived area. In the future, the aim is also to offer outdoor education packages for school, university and corporate social responsibility groups. Currently the majority of the seedlings that are planted come from one nursery in the

community and are managed by someone who was recruited as a JGM volunteer. This will be expanded so that woman and young people within the community will become involved and trained in seedling production.

 

In detail there are four subgoals:

- Rehabilitation and maintenance of Angke-Kapuk wetland area. Planting mangroves involving the community and students in the Ecotourism Forest Park/Elang Laut area. Monitoring mangroves and wildlife in Angke – Kapuk forest and Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary. Monitoring of water quality in 5 stations in the area of the Angke – Kapuk wetlands

- Maintenance of habitat through clean up action and waste management. Deliver community planning for waste management at a neighbourhood level in Kapuk Muara and adjacent areas through developing a forum to engage all local stakeholders in active management of the wetland. Monitor waste dumping in the Angke-Kapuk wetland. Expand regular clean-up and planting projects in the Angke-Kapuk wetlands in Jakarta. Once an area has been cleaned, mangroves will be planted in the forest areas to allow for regeneration and aid in increasing its biodiversity by providing a healthy environment in which birds and other animals can develop.

- Develop community income generation. Develop household-based composting and plastic recycling scheme in Kapuk Muara and Muara Angke. Raise awareness within adjacent villages.

- Expand mangrove seedling nurseries. Expand mangrove seedling nurseries within the community. Training within the community will be given, with JGM supervision, on identifying the best source of seedlings, methods of harvesting seeds and the best procedure in the area for germinating propagules and maintaining them until they are ready for planting.

 

 

 

Foto: Thehero

Funding period:

since November 2011

Jakarta green monsters on youtube