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Civil Society Organizations Push for More Effective Waste Management in Jombang

Sep 16, 2022

The rural district of Jombang (East Java) faces an acute municipal waste management and disposal problem. Homes, schools, farms, and businesses generate 530 tons of garbage per day.

A civil society initiative supported by USAID MADANI Civil Society Support Initiative is raising awareness of an acute municipal waste management and disposal issue in Jombang District and obtaining concrete commitments from the local government to support recycling by working with local CSO Sanggar Hijau Indonrsia. However, the local government can only collect and process 120 tons (23 percent) daily. As a result, illegal dumping on private and public properties – rivers, roadsides, and farmlands – has become rampant.

To combat this situation, the national and sub-national government tried enacting legislation to regulate waste disposal management. However, these efforts largely failed to achieve their objectives due to a lack of political and financial support, weak enforcement, and low awareness among the relevant stakeholders.

Now, a civil society initiative supported by USAID’s MADANI Civil Society Support Initiative is raising awareness of the issue and obtaining concrete commitments from the local government to support recycling. MADANI has worked with local civil society organization (CSO) Sanggar Hijau Indonesia to address the severe domestic waste management issue through a community-based participatory approach. Together with the multi-stakeholder community forum Forum Masyarakat Madani Jombang (FMMJ), Sanggar Hijau assessed the district’s waste management services using its Community Score Card (CSC) – a participatory-based monitoring and evaluation tool. Through focus group discussions, in March 2022, they collected feedback from local government agencies, religious leaders, environmental activists, and selected communities on the social and cultural roots of the problem.

The research findings prompted Sanggar Hijau and other CSOs to focus on four components: 1) developing an integrated information system on the type of waste and disposal options, 2) expanding waste management options, 3) improving citizen complaint handling, and 4) increasing community outreach and social participation. To further engage the community, Sanggar Hijau also launched a social movement in the form of a campaign to recycle organic and non-organic waste. This initiative aims to tackle Jombang’s growing garbage problem, while simultaneously providing households with additional income, organic compost, building materials, and a cleaner environment. Shanti Wurdiani, Director of Sanggar Hijau, commented: “We learned that mapping the stakeholders and working with a local influencer helps connect and build rapport with the community.” Wurdiani continued: “Our innovation later won the Kampung Berseri Astra competition sponsored by national automobile conglomerate PT Astra International.”

Sanggar Hijau has built an impressive network of contacts in key government agencies, the local media, and the community. The organization advocates for the district government to solve the waste management issue through better policy making before the problem becomes a full-blown crisis. Taking to social media, they leveraged the Atmago.com platform’s popularity among civil society activists to promote their cause and connect with supporters.

After receiving a policy brief from Sanggar Hijau, which identified and analyzed the underlying problems pertaining to waste management, the district’s Environmental Agency has now urged the enactment of a series of bylaws that will help eliminate single-use plastic items, which are difficult to recycle. The bylaws will contain detailed guidance to accomplish the local government’s goal of curbing plastic waste and help it implement relevant national and sub-national regulations.

In addition, inspired by Sanggar Hijau’s policy brief, on 31 May 2022, the Head of the District of Jombang enacted a decree (SK Bupati) on waste management in government agencies. The decree promotes the use of reusable water bottles, prohibits single-use plastic utensils during local government meetings and around the office, reduces paper use, and encourages waste separation and composting biodegradable waste, among other positive measures. The District Head’s office and the local Legal Bureau are currently reviewing a circular letter (SE Bupati) that targets the same issues for the general population.

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