• Monday, Jul 04, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

In Indonesia, Covid-19 floods Cisadane river with extra hazard

  • Published at 02:13 pm September 1st, 2020
Cisadane river, Indonesia
File photo: Ade Yunus, founder of Banksasuci, holds a discarded syringe as he collects medical waste at Cisadane river, in Tangerang, Banten province on August 2, 2020 Reuters

In May the Cipeucang landfill's walls collapsed, sending tons of garbage straight into the Cisadane's khaki green waters

For the residents along Indonesia's Cisadane River, the coronavirus has brought not just deadly disease, but also a deluge of medical waste: a constant stream of syringes, face masks and hazmat suits floating by.

The double threat for those who depend on the 138-kilometre-long river to bathe and wash their clothes comes as Indonesia has struggled to contain Covid-19, now with the highest death toll in Southeast Asia, and in the past week almost 3,000 new infections a day.

As the virus has spread, medical waste had been piling up at Cipeucang landfill in Tangerang, part of the sprawling metropolis of the capital Jakarta.

In May the landfill's walls collapsed, sending tons of garbage straight into the Cisadane's khaki green waters.

"I still worry to be honest, but I have to wash here," local resident Eka Purwanti, 36, told Reuters, as she did her laundry in the river, and children played on the riverbank, "I hope nothing will happen, although I know it's a deadly disease."

Like countries around the world, Indonesia has seen the pandemic bring a huge increase in medical waste, an issue that has raised concern in places from Spain to Thailand and India.

In the months since the landfill collapsed, Ade Yunus, founder of the Cisadane River Rubbish Bank, has been working to cleaning up the waterway.

"The first time we found medical waste was after the landslide," said Yunus, bending down to pick up a syringe and deposit it in a safe box. "In the beginning, we found around 50-60 items every day."

Indonesia's health ministry acknowledged the problem - saying 1,480 tons of Covid-19 medical waste was produced across the country from March through June - and admitted the country lacked treatment facilities, but was working on solutions.

"A new regulation has just passed that included guidelines around medical waste treatment in every health facility," said ministry official, Imran Agus Nurali.

Most health facilities in Indonesia, including hospitals, currently rely on third parties to incinerate their waste.

The deluge has raised fears among public health experts that the medical waste could spread the disease, with those in riverside communities at high risk.

"If this medical waste spreads in the residential area near the river then it could potentially pollute the water that is used by people there," said Mahesa Paranadipa Maikel, an epidemiologist from the Indonesian Law Health Society, "It could potentially result in the transmission of Covid-19."

By the river, it's a risk residents recognize.

"I worry if the children could get infected with Covid-19 when they swim here," said Cisadane local Astri Dewiyani. "That's why I always forbid my kids to swim at the river."

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail