Ngik… ngik… ngik… jegrek… the bulldozer machine was working. Its rhythm collided with the sound of car horns and the noise of the vehicles passing by. The heat of the sun as if to indicate that the dry season was reluctant to go although it was at the end of December. But it was not completely true. Usually the rain would fall later in the afternoon, after the workers in the landfill on Kelapa Dua Main Road, Srengseng Sawah, South Jakarta, finished working.
That afternoon I deliberately came to that place. Before, my friend who usually went past it on his way home in Cibubur had told me that the waste in that TPS (landfill) was heaped. It had a rotten smell. And then we had discussed our experience watching the akumassa video titled Men at Work. In that video that had been produced in 2009, we had watched that the waste had been treated well at that time, unlike this time unfortunately.
A coffee shop exactly next to the TPS which was adjacent to a car repair shop became a place for me to relax. “Bang, a half pack of Djarum Super and a glass of brewed milk, please!”
“OK. Where are you from, Bang?” greeted the shopkeeper.
“I’m from Lenteng Agung, Bang. I’m here to see the management of the TPS here,” I answered.
After we introduced ourselves to each other, I knew that the shopkeeper’s name was Saputra. He lived in RT 001/RW 01, Srengseng Sawah Administrative Village. According to his story, the TPS here was actually only for the residents of RW 01 and RW 02, but because nobody guarded it then anybody from any place often disposed of their garbage there too. “Many people in the cars or on motorbikes pass by and suddenly they just throw away the garbage, Bang,” said that shopkeeper while handing a glass of hot milk to me.
Furthermore, he told me that in the past week the waste was piled up without treatment. But since yesterday until today when I came, the workers from the Jagakarsa District Sanitation Agency had been cleaning it. He hoped that after the New Year, his neighborhood would have been cleaned again. This was important to him because his fortune was determined by the customers of the car repair shop who bought something from his shop. “If the surroundings aren’t comfortable, the repair shop will be quiet, then nobody buys anything here, Bang,” said Saputra. He invited me again to drink the milk he brewed and said goodbye because he wanted to go home. Meanwhile, he entrusted his shop to the repair shop mechanic he trusted.
And then I took out my pocket camera to get the pictures of the activity of those workers from the Sanitation Agency, until an officer wearing a shirt that imitated a safari costume approached me. “Where are you from, Bro?”
“I’m a journalist, Sir. I’m observing the waste in South Jakarta. Recently, the waste in the TPS has been piled up, right, Sir?” I asked.
That officer immediately invited me to the coffee shop to tell me about the waste problem that he knew further. His name was H. Sobri HD, he was one of the lower ranking officers from South Jakarta Sanitation Agency. According to him, the piled up waste was a yearly problem, especially every rainy season. This could happen because in the rainy season the volume of the waste increased. It made the trucks that brought the waste from five administrative areas in Jakarta had to wait in a long queue to be able to dispose of the waste in Bantar Gebang landfill. “In the past week, the queue of the trucks has reached 3 km, Bro. I feel sorry for the drivers.”
Sobri thought that actually there was not any too influential problem in Srengseng Sawah TPS because the waste treatment facility there was quite enough. “We have four garbage trucks, one waste pressure machine and one bulldozer. And the work is handled by a private company. But, unfortunately, the bulldozer in this TPS is out of service right now, that’s why the waste is piled up at this end of December. It’s been 8 days the waste here hasn’t been transported. The bulldozer here now (pointing) is a loan from Tebet District,” added Sobri.
Furthermore, Sobri told me that the cooperation among the lower ranking officers often was not close enough. So he complained that the Sanitation Lower Ranking Officers, who were already very busy with the waste problem often had to deal with another problem, such as PKL (pedagang kaki lima – street vendors). This man from Lenteng Agung admitted that he was often jealous of the workers who worked as lower ranking officers of the Parks Agency. Besides working in a comfortable environment, there were many things that could be played (to get money). “Here, Bro, when those officers were pruning a too tall tree, they will get money from it. They will get additional income from it. Well, what can we do with the waste?” said Sobri. After telling the story, he asked to leave the shop. He wanted to continue his job by supervising those waste workers.
My eyes went back to those waste workers. Some of them were busy unloading, lifting and pushing the waste, while Sobri seemed engrossed in conversation with someone wearing a shirt. I did not know what they were talking about. Maybe they discussed the waste, or maybe something else. I chose to take the pictures again of that work activity. Finally, I went back to the shop to finish my milk that I had not drunk since the beginning.
I just sat for a second and lit a cigarette when the man who had been talking to Sobri before approached me. He asked the same question as Sobri and I answered it with the same answer, and so was my question. I finally knew that the man was a supervisor of the waste workers from the private company. His name was Manik. According to his explanation, the waste treatment here was managed by PT Kanopi Hijau after the Local Government facilitated it. This company was owned by one of the former lower ranking officers of South Jakarta Sanitation Agency.
He also explained about the waste problem which was piled up at the end of this December. He gave the same statement as Sobri. However, he emphasized more that the waste problem needed support from many parties, especially the residents. This was the same as Saputra’s explanation. There were many people who were not the residents of RT 001/RW 01, especially the street vendors around Depok and Lenteng Agung. “To make things worse, Bro, once, the troops of TNI Yonzikon in Lenteng Agung disposed of two trucks of waste here. Well, what should we do? They were military personnel. The thing that made me disappointed was that they should’ve called us first so we could pick up the waste.”
And then our conversation continued with the topic about religion and fortune. I only listened what Manik said. According to him, he was grateful that he could have a job although it had to do with the waste. In the spirit of Christmas, he felt that his job like this was a God’s way. So if he had not been grateful, then it would become an endless complaint. Listening to that, maybe I should agree with him, but the most important thing was the waste problem had to be solved with mature and strategic ways and was not resigned to the situation. Of course, all parties had to support it, including the residents. Goodbye.