Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The trash bank program is considered an effective concept to overcome trash problems in Indonesia and create a cleaner, healthier, and more comfortable environment.

Therefore the program, initiated by the Ministry of Environment, was begun in 2012 in various regions across the country.

The presence of the trash bank is part of the Ministry of Environment`s target to develop at least 25 trash banks in each of 250 cities across Indonesia by 2014.

In February 2012, the Pekanbaru branch of Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) in Riau province disbursed Rp70 million for partnership and environmental management credits to develop trash banks in the city.

"The total credit of Rp70 million for trash bank development in Pekanbaru has an interest of 6 percent per year, or much lower than the commercial credit," BNI Pekanbaru spokesman Jimmy Rusma said.

According to Jimmy Rusma, a trash bank business in Pekanbaru is environmentally sustainable and aided in the local community`s economic empowerment.

"We fully support the presence of a trash bank in Pekanbaru, Riau because it has economic value that has to be developed as part of a national program," Jimmy said.

He noted that with the presence of the trash bank, a trash collector could earn some Rp6 million per month.

Due to a lucrative additional income from trash management, all people were invited to actively manage the trash problem properly in order to reduce green house gas emissions.

Meanwhile, Riau provincial Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) chairman Muhammad Herawan has said the presence of a trash bank in Pekanbaru was expected to assist in industrial growth.

"We are optimistic that following the implementation of a trash bank program in Pekanbaru by the Ministry of Environment, it will stimulate local creative industrial growth," Herawan said.

He said the presence of a trash bank would help improve the local residents' economy because those who have the capability to collect trash and sort it, according to type, and sell it to the bank would have an additional income.

"Besides, creative business players at present have a profound interest in economic issues related to environment, and therefore many of them will probably involve themselves in the trash bank program," he said.

Herawan also pointed out that trash, with proper sorting and management, had good economic value in the development of individuals' incomes.

According to Bremen, Germany-based Overseas Research and Development Association (BORDA), more than 22.5 million tons of garbage are generated in Indonesia every year, and by 2020 Indonesians are expected to throw away 53.7 million tons of waste.

BORDA, a close observer of local government capacity in solid waste management, sees basic problems in Indonesian cities, such as a lack of logistics and equipment to haul garbage out of neighborhoods.

But the trash bank development program is expected to reduce this problem.

The trash bank is an innovative solution for the public, especially house-makers and children, who familiarize themselves with garbage sorting by equating it with money or other valuables that can be saved.

In Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, the Environment Ministry`s official, Masnellyarti Hilman, authorized the operation of trash banks in 30 locations in November 2012.

Further, local environment office spokesman Hamdi said there were already 30 trash banks in Banjarmasin that result in incomes of Rp30 million per month.

He noted that the presence of more trash banks in many regions across the country would provide a double impact.

So far, the North Sulawesi provincial city of Manado, over the past four months, has had 34 trash banks with 950 customers, Manado Mayor Vicky Lumentut said in November.

Lumentut noted that those trash banks in the city were expected to improve local individuals` incomes, reduce unemployment, and support environmental cleanliness.

"With the presence of trash banks in Manado, we hope less and less garbage will be thrown into the final disposal site," Lumentut said, adding that all sub-districts would have trash banks next year.

Therefore, he called on all people in the city to support the trash bank program by becoming trash bank customers.

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya also said in Manado that the money earned from trash banks across the country has reached Rp3.2 billion during the past two years.

The minister noted that one person could produce 2 kg of garbage per day, and if he or she managed it properly, it could turn into a source of income.

According to Balthasar Kambuaya, garbage should be sorted because it becomes a source of income when managed properly.

Kambuaya noted that trash banks held great potential for both city and provincial governments and, therefore, all cities and districts in every province should have them.

Further, the environment minister added that he has increased the number of trash banks from 471 units in January to reach 585 units in September 2012.

Additionally, the amount of garbage managed at the trash banks has increased from 755.6 tons per month to 1,366.9 tons per month, an increase of 81 percent.

In Yogyakarta, a trash bank was initiated by Bambang Suwerda, who said its existence could change the social status of scavengers who roamed the garbage heaps to collect inorganic waste.

Bambang noted that scavengers who brave the heat to comb through mountains of trash for anything salable contributed to solving the nation's waste problem.

The trash bank, as part of efforts to overcome problems in Indonesia, is also able to empower the people`s economy at a grassroots level.

Trash is a widespread problem in Indonesia, as people either burn their garbage in front of their homes or simply throw it into rivers.

But the Ministry of Environment has launched the trash bank development program in a bid to raise the incomes of people and reduce the trash problem.


Reporter: Otniel T
Editor: Jafar M Sidik
Copyright © ANTARA 2012