Surabaya- Today’s activities were quiet and focused on observation rather than presenting or making a lot effort as opposed to the last week. However, I unfortunately cannot say that what I witnessed today would make me calm, satisfied and relaxed. You certainly are going to ask me why and what evoked this feeling in me? What did I witness so significant that it won’t make me sleep comfortably. Well, it was something what I had no idea about, that such a place could even exist… It was far beyond my realms of possibilities to even imagine and envisage to be in such a place.
In the past I have seen such places on TV a couple of times, but I have never seen anything like that on my own eyes. Since Tunas Hijau is operating in environmental issues, it is most likely to be something regarding environment. Essentially, it has something to do with every single person around us who we all have to share and look after the environment with. Ok, I am going to tell you, today we (Martin, Wenjun and Michael) witnessed and saw the biggest public dumping ground in Surabaya.
Frankly speaking, I had absolutely no idea what such a place would be like and I am pretty sure that people out there who have never seen such a place have no idea either. There is an enormous amount of rubbish everywhere, not only in the dumping ground, but also many kms around the entire area. Before you actually reach this place you can notice a strong smell of rubbish literally hitting your nose and you are still far from this place. After driving through the main gate, I became speechless. Rubbish, not separated of course, is everywhere, people trying to make a living from rubbish separation are walking throughout the rubbish in the entire area.
There are absolutely no health rules, safety restrictions or whatsoever. Many excavators are moving rubbish around and these people separating rubbish are walking in very close distance to these excavators. As I was wondering what would happen if any of those guys trying to make a living would get hurt, I asked one employee and he answered that nobody cares about them. As a matter of fact, I saw on my own eyes, as an excavator’s blade almost hit one guy. I jumped over to check if he is ok, he was ok, but what surprised me was that it was only me interested in that guy if he was still alive.
The entire place goes far beyond anyone’s imagination. It is extremely disgusting and filthy, it is so hard to even breath comfortably, I had to use a wet tissue to help me breath more easily. To be honest I was not far from vomiting and I am the kind of person who can handle a lot. The arising question however is, why is such a place allowed to created? Why does not government care about these matters more? How long can this place be used as a dumping tip? How long does it take to get this rubbish absorbed into the ground?
Well, firstly we have to realize, that this problem concerns all of us. Further we have to realize that Indonesia is still a developing country and is exploited by all other developed countries bringing industry to a cheaper place where local government does not care about the local environment as much as overseas or in developed countries, but it rather cares predominantly about its income from taxes from this coming industry. This represents a significant cause. In Europe all industry units have to prove how they handle rubbish, how much rubbish they produce and how much money they pay for this service and to what organization this money goes.
All of this is mentioned in the law and if anyone breaks it, there are heavy charges and mostly shutting down the business. If these practices were introduced in Indonesia, it would make a difference. However, it comes back to the government and its willingness to solve these issues and protect its environment before it is too late. Did you for instance know that each layer made of rubbish that covers another layer made of rubbish takes 15 years to be absorbed naturally into the ground? Yes, it takes so many years as to get rid of each layer opposed to a moment of a blink of an eye when it is made.
Obviously, this situation asks for solutions and the sooner the better. We cannot continue with the same way, there has to be a breakthrough and adequate solutions. As a side consequence of aforementioned reasons, this dumping grounds affect water under the earth’s surface, surrounding air and as a result all of these natural resources are heavily polluted and unable to be used for what it should be used. When I saw this place I actually realized what a hazard game we humans are playing with the planet Earth. It certainly doesn’t deserve what we do.
The second and the third place to stop by, were composting places where in a natural way compost is produced. It is actually something tremendously different to watch that something what has been created naturally is again processed and used naturally. Being heavily shocked and influenced from the dumping ground I did not really pay any great attention to these composting places, I was still at that disgusting spot in my mind.
All this “rubbish processing” tour was concluded in the local park where we could see deer, parrots and some other kinds of animals. It was a useful dot after this trip to actually realize that these creatures and species need a healthy environment to live in otherwise children of our children will know these animals just from pictures. To change all of these is not going to happen in the next week, it is going to take decades. We have to change people’s approach and willingness to get things changed, to change their mind and encourage them that they have to care about these things and being indifferent cannot change anything. We have to start from little tiny things that will lead to bigger ones and more important ones and one day we all will be involved in this crucial process.