No place for old gad­gets: Jakarta’s e-waste prob­lem

Many Jakar­tans keep their old gad­gets Elec­tronic waste clas­si­fied as haz­ardous, toxic City plans to open bid on com­pa­nies set to process Jakarta’s e-waste

The Jakarta Post - - CITY - Agnes Anya

From ex-co­work­ers’ con­tact in­for­ma­tion to pho­to­graphs, it is the mem­o­ries that gad­gets hold that make most Jakar­tans feel re­luc­tant to dis­pose of them — and likely the fact that they have no idea where to dis­card their wornout de­vices.

Fitri Nur Arife­nie, for ex­am­ple, has kept the mo­bile de­vices she had used since her univer­sity days. Four­teen years on, the 32-year-old has 10 mo­bile phones and two tablets sit­ting idly in her desk drawer.

“I am not the type of per­son who will throw away old gad­gets af­ter get­ting a new one,” she said. “They store hun­dreds of [phone] num­bers of im­por­tant peo­ple I used to work with. I am afraid the data will be mis­used when I dis­pose them.”

Mean­while, pho­tog­ra­pher Agung Har­ta­murti has kept his bro­ken ana­log cam­era for three years be­cause it re­minds him of the time he spent “in search of his iden­tity.”

How­ever, un­like Fenny, Agung does not tend to hoard un­used elec­tronic de­vices.

“I’m will­ing to dis­card items like [old] TVs and laser disc play­ers,” he said, adding that he and his fam­ily usu­ally sold these ma­chines to junk men. “I do not know how else to dis­pose of them. If one day the Jakarta ad­min­is­tra­tion has an e-waste pro­gram, I will pre­fer to use that.”

E-waste is clas­si­fied as haz­ardous and toxic, as stip­u­lated in By­law No. 3/2013 on trash man­age­ment, said Ali Maulana, deputy head of the Jakarta En­vi­ron­ment Agency.

How­ever, aside from the by­law, Jakarta has yet to draw up poli­cies reg­u­lat­ing e-waste dump man­age­ment.

“At the na­tional level, the En­vi­ron­ment and Forestry Min­istry has yet to is­sue such a reg­u­la­tion, so we find it dif­fi­cult to cre­ate our own,” Ali said.

En­vi­ron­ment and Forestry Min­istry waste man­age­ment di­rec­tor Sudirman separately con­firmed that the gov­ern­ment did not have a reg­u­la­tion on e-waste man­age­ment, given that it is still de­lib­er­at­ing a draft of the Gov­ern­ment Reg­u­la­tion on Spe­cific Waste, which of­fi­cials have been for­mu­lat­ing since 2015.

De­spite the lack of a clear pol­icy, the Jakarta En­vi­ron­ment Agency took the ini­tia­tive in Jan­uary by is­su­ing a de­cree that al­lows it to col­lect and process ewaste.

This in­cludes the weekly de­ploy­ment of a waste truck on Jakarta Car Free Day, as well as pro­vid­ing drop boxes to ev­ery sub­dis­trict and district of­fice, in which res­i­dents can dis­card their e-waste.

The de­cree also en­ables the agency to work with waste-treat­ment com­pany PT Prasadha Pa­mu­nah Lim­bah In­dus­tri (PPLI) to process e-waste.

How­ever, be­cause the pro­cess­ing pro­gram was not in­cluded in the 2017 city bud­get, PPLI vol­un­tar­ily funded the treat­ment of mo­bile phones only, said Rosa Am­barsari, head of the agency’s haz­ardous and toxic waste man­age­ment di­vi­sion.

“We have al­lo­cated fund­ing in the 2018 bud­get,” said Rosa, adding that next year, the ad­min­is­tra­tion planned to open a bid on com­pa­nies set to process Jakarta’s e-waste.

“How­ever, we still find dif­fi­culty in per­suad­ing res­i­dents to give away their e-waste for free. They are hes­i­tant to do so be­cause of the money they had spent on their de­vices,” she con­tin­ued.

In June, for ex­am­ple, the ad­min­is­tra­tion handed over only 473 mo­bile phones to PPLI, said the com­pany’s spokesper­son, Arum Tri Pus­posari.

Ac­cord­ing to 2014 Global E-Waste Mon­i­tor data from the United Na­tions Univer­sity (UNU), In­done­sians threw away an av­er­age of 3 kilo­grams of ewaste per year.

Hence, Arum said, it is as­sumed that 30,000 tons of e-waste is pro­duced an­nu­ally in Jakarta, home to some 10 mil­lion peo­ple.

“We have long wanted to work per­ma­nently with Jakarta be­cause we are aware of its po­ten­tial. We are cur­rently draft­ing our mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) to pro­pose to the ad­min­is­tra­tion,” Arum said, adding that the city had also ex­pressed its in­ter­est to the com­pany.

JP/Seto Ward­hana

Elec­tronic grave­yard: A worker sorts through elec­tronic parts at the Mall Rong­sok con­sign­ment store in De­pok, West Java, on Mon­day. In­done­sians throw away an av­er­age of 3 kilo­grams of e-waste per year as there is no clear pol­icy about how to treat e-waste.

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