An employee walking along a thermal pipe at the Kamojang geothermal
power plant near Garut, West Java, on March 18. State utility provider
 Perusahaan Listrik Negara is targeting an additional 135 megawatts of
electricity from three new geothermal plants. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,.. etc.)
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - (Text version)

“.. Nuclear Power Revealed

So let me tell you what else they did. They just showed you what's wrong with nuclear power. "Safe to the maximum," they said. "Our devices are strong and cannot fail." But they did. They are no match for Gaia.

It seems that for more than 20 years, every single time we sit in the chair and speak of electric power, we tell you that hundreds of thousands of tons of push/pull energy on a regular schedule is available to you. It is moon-driven, forever. It can make all of the electricity for all of the cities on your planet, no matter how much you use. There's no environmental impact at all. Use the power of the tides, the oceans, the waves in clever ways. Use them in a bigger way than any designer has ever put together yet, to power your cities. The largest cities on your planet are on the coasts, and that's where the power source is. Hydro is the answer. It's not dangerous. You've ignored it because it seems harder to engineer and it's not in a controlled environment. Yet, you've chosen to build one of the most complex and dangerous steam engines on Earth - nuclear power.

We also have indicated that all you have to do is dig down deep enough and the planet will give you heat. It's right below the surface, not too far away all the time. You'll have a Gaia steam engine that way, too. There's no danger at all and you don't have to dig that far. All you have to do is heat fluid, and there are some fluids that boil far faster than water. So we say it again and again. Maybe this will show you what's wrong with what you've been doing, and this will turn the attitudes of your science to create something so beautiful and so powerful for your grandchildren. Why do you think you were given the moon? Now you know.

This benevolent Universe gave you an astral body that allows the waters in your ocean to push and pull and push on the most regular schedule of anything you know of. Yet there you sit enjoying just looking at it instead of using it. It could be enormous, free energy forever, ready to be converted when you design the methods of capturing it. It's time. …”

Friday, November 30, 2007

Lampung finds community solution to forest conservation

Oyos Saroso H.N., The Jakarta Post, Lampung

Lampung administration has developed a forest conservation area which involves residents.

Since 2000, 6,537 households near Rigil hill and Tangkit Tebak forest in West Lampung municipality have taken part in the "Forest Community" program, regreening the 12-hectare forest which was damaged by illegal logging.

As an incentive, the villagers -- who work in groups -- are allowed to cultivate a part of the damaged forest for a five year term.

Now, not only do they enjoy the harvests from their crops, but also benefit from the restored forest.

"We're glad we have land to work on ... so that we can support ourselves, while protecting the environment," a farmer, Erfan, said.

The team responsible for the program consists of the village chief, officials from the environmental management board and forest conservation supervision unit, environmentalists and farmer organizations.

The team supervises farmers in groups of 50 and manages land use, distribution, planning and licensing, which is required by people wishing to cultivate land in the area. The team also evaluates the performance of farmer groups each year.

"Groups who are successful in operating under the program would be given permission to cultivate the forest land for 25 years, as recently instructed by West Lampung Mayor Erwin Nizar," a team member and environmentalist from Keluarga Pecinta Lingkungan (Environmentalist Family), Rama Zakaria, said.

Farmers are not allowed to build houses or even shacks in the forest near their crops or to sell the land, or they will lose permission to use the land in the coming year.

Rama said community-based forest management was the best way to prevent the forest from being damaged.

"Farmers until now ... witness forest destruction but can do nothing. Now, with the forest management based in the community they can participate to protect it, and even bust the illegal loggers."

Rama said even though the Forest Community pilot project has gone well, there were still many obstacles in repairing damaged forests in other parts of the province, particularly in two national parks and one protected forest.

He said Lampung faces rampant illegal logging activities which have damaged 60 percent of the 125,000-ha Way Kambas national park in East Lampung, 40 percent of the 365,000-ha Bukit Barisan Selatan national park and 40 percent of the 22,000-ha Wan Abdur Rahman protected forest in Bandar Lampung.

According to environment management board data cited by Rama, 1.4 of 3.3 million ha of Lampung is forested, but 65 percent of it is now damaged.

"At first, the administration was reluctant to allow residents to manage and cultivate crops in forest areas, but after they saw how it is managed, (they) cooperated," Rama said.

World Bank data from 2007 shows Indonesia became the world's third biggest carbon dioxide emitter because of uncontrolled forest degradation.

"It is embarrassing to find the world pointing at Indonesia as one of the main contributors to global warming when once we were so proud of our forests," Rama said.

Tenganan residents use micro-hydro power plant

Wasti Atmodjo, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

The Tenganan, one of the oldest Balinese indigenous groups, have long been renowned as the guardians of the island's environment by consistently applying their traditional wisdom.

Living in Tenganan village, which is situated on the rich and fertile lands of Karangasem regency, some 100 kilometers east of Denpasar, the Tenganan have successfully retained their traditional way of life.

Made Suarnatha, director of the Wisnu Foundation, said the foundation had helped the people of Tenganan develop their own hydro-electric power plant by utilizing the water-rich Buhu River.

Supported by the Global Environmental Facilities (GEF), Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) and the state-owned electricity company PT PLN, the village now has a micro-hydro power plant capable of producing around 12,000 watts (12 KW) during the dry season and 22,000 during rainy season.

"This is a type of community-based electricity power plant that could be applied in other remote villages on the island," said Wayan Redika, spokesperson of PT PLN's Bali office.

The company, he said, was not able to provide electricity for all, therefore empowering villages was the key to ensuring people could rely on a self-generated electricity supply.

Since Tenganan people do not need as much electricity as their counterparts in urban areas, the provision of between 12 kilowatts to 22 kilowatts of electricity is more than enough for these modest people.

"We use the electricity to operate our rice mill, which used to be powered by diesel fuel," said Tenganan's village chief.

The diesel-powered mill, he said, required 20 liters of fuel per hour to process rice husks.

By using the electricity, the people of Tenganan can save hundreds of thousands of rupiah a day. More importantly, the new technology is more environmentally friendly.

"The local people can also sell electricity to PT PLN at Rp 420 per kwh. This means they can generate money from the micro-hydro power plant," Suarnatha said, adding investment for the plant amounted to around Rp 600 million.

The Wisnu Foundation has been involved in various community-based activities that empower villagers to be economically independent. The foundation has become a development partner for four villages: Tenganan and Sibetan in Karangasem regency, Plaga in Badung regency and Nusa Penida in Klungkung.

"The difference is the involvement of the community in managing this power plant, which will become their economic wheel," Suarnatha said.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Flats culturally suited for Indonesian people

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Vice President Jusuf Kalla has refuted the opinion that flats are culturally not suited for Indonesian people, saying shrinking land space and increasing demand for housing required the development of flats in big cities.

"Many people have said that flats are culturally not suited for Indonesians. I think this is not true," the vice president said when opening a national working meeting of the Indonesian Developers` Association (Aperti) here on Thursday.

To support his argument, the vice president pointed at the traditional `rumah gadang` (big house) in West Sumatra and the `rumah panjang` (long house) tribal house in Kalimantan.

Kalla said rumah gadang and rumah panjang were basically flats in other forms. Each of these typically traditional houses was home to many families.

"The difference between rumah gadang or rumah panjang and flats is that the former are built in horizontal direction while the latter are built vertically, one storey on another," the vice president said adding that the concept of both kinds of dwelling was the same, namely houses for large numbers of communal families.

Kalla said that in order to overcome the problems of shrinking land space and increasing demand for housing, the only correct choice was to develop flats.

On the occasion, the vice president also promised to develop flats on the land that was once the site of Kemayoran airport.

He said the former airport site would be developed as a people`s housing complex through a flat development program.

"Kemayoran should be made a flat development center next year. It is wrong for people to divide it into lots of land illegally," he said.

He said flat development in a big city like Jakarta was a must. Horizontal houses could no longer be developed in big cities.

The vice president also called on Aperti to help develop flats. The development of low-cost houses so far by Aperti had gained significant recognition. Flats in big cities were also classified as modest houses.

Modest houses would continue to grow in line with the development of the people`s economy, he said.

"If people early in their life-time need small houses, now with higher welfare levels, they want bigger ones," Kalla said.

Government to provide any amount of subsidy to develop public housing

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the government would allocate whatever amount of funds was needed to subsidize public housing development as long as the money was used properly.

"There is no problem with subsidy, the government will provide whatever amount of funds is needed as long as it is used properly," Kalla said here on Thursday when officially opening a meeting of the Association of Housing and Resettlement Developers (Aperti).

Kalla said housing development for the people was a must because it was one of the indicators of economic growth.

He said government subsidy for public housing development was continuing to increase while on the other hand bank interest rates kept on dropping. These indicators meant that more houses could be constructed, he said.

"In the past, the commercial bank interest rate was 18 percent, and currently it`s around 13 to 14 percent. So, the government`s subsidy was 8 percent, and now it is only between 3 and 4 percent. The rupiah`s nominal is the same but there is more that can be paid," he said.

He called on national banks not to hesitate to give credits for low-cost housing development.

"There is no bank that has gone bankrupt because it has been extending credits for low-cost housing development. In fact, those that did go bankrupt were those that provided credits for the building of malls and luxurious houses," he said.

He also dismissed views which said that public apartments were not in accordance with the culture of the Indonesian people.

"Many people said that apartments are not in accordance with our culture. In fact, apartments do fit it (Indonesian culture)," Kalla said.

He cited the `gadang` (big) houses of the Minang community in West Sumatra and the long houses of Kalimantan as examples of low-cost apartments.

The difference was that the gadang and long houses were extended sideways, while the low-cost apartments were constructed upwards, he said.

Kalla called on Aperti to develop low-cost apartments in the country`s cities, instead of constructing individual low-cost houses because of the available space was limited.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yogyakarta two degrees warmer, official says

Slamet Susanto, The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta

The climate in Yogyakarta city has gradually increased over the past two years due to global warming, a government agency says.

Previously, the temperature in the city ranged between 33 and 34 degrees Celsius, but now swings between 35 and 37.8 degrees.

"The temperature rise in Yogyakarta is a current global phenomenon also happening elsewhere as the result of global warming," said Yogyakarta Meteorological and Geophysics Agency (BMG) Data and Information Division head Tyar Prasetya.

Prasetya added his office had detected a gradual rise in temperatures in the city over the past two years. The city recorded temperatures of between 33 to 34 degrees Celsius previously, but in November 2006 the highest temperature reached 37.8 degrees Celsius and in December of the same year it stood at 35.2 degrees Celsius.

He said the BMG recorded temperatures of 35.2 degrees Celsius in February and 35 degrees in October this year.

Prasetya said every party must pay special attention to reduce global warming so as to alleviate its negative impacts.

A number of Yogyakarta residents say they have noticed the change.

"Yogyakarta's climate is very hot now, especially when we go out in the daytime," said Amirudin, a father of two.

He said that the atmosphere around the Gadjah Mada University's roundabout, a popular meeting place, used to be cool in the afternoon.

"The climate along Jalan Kaliurang, which was cool previously due to its proximity to the mountain, is quite hot now, let alone the area around the university, which is closer to the coastal area," said Amirudin.

Yogyakarta Environmental Office's Waste Management Division head Peter Lawuasal said his office was conducting a study to determine the current trend in temperature rises.

The study is being conducted in 10 points in the city focusing on tests such as lead levels and ambient temperature.

"We are currently testing them in the laboratory," said Peter.

Peter added his office had previously conducted research on lead content in the blood levels of taxi drivers, bus conductors and pedicab drivers.

"Tests showed that the lead content exceeded the permitted level," said Peter.

He said the lead content in their blood indicates a high level of air pollution in the city.

The local municipality is carrying out a regreening program in an attempt to lower air pollution in the city. It has been using money from the provincial budget to procure idle land in the city for the past two years.

"We buy vacant plots of land and turn them into green areas or public parks," said Yogyakarta Mayor Herry Zudianto.

The tree replanting program is being carried out in conjunction with a campaign to plant trees along streets and in private gardens. The municipality will provide 31,000 tree seedlings by the end of the year and encourage residents to get involved in the program.

Govt to build 3,000 houses for refugees

Yemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Kupang

KUPANG (Jakarta Post) : The Social Services Ministry will build some 3,000 houses, at a cost of Rp 45 billion, for East Timorese refugees who have lived in makeshift camps since in 1999.

Head of Kupang Social Agency, Frans Salem, said Tuesday the administration planned to relocate all refugees to proper residences in 2008, and would encourage them to be independent and lead normal lives.

"We also plan to help develop productive sources of income (for the refugees)," he said, adding the administration had distributed funds amounting to Rp 4 million per household to develop home enterprises.

According to Frans, there were 9,672 East Timorese households still living in poverty. About 6,000 of them have been relocated, while the rest still live in camps in Kupang and Belu regencies. --JP

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Indonesia`s Duta Graha eyes construction projects in middle east construction

Jakarta (ANTARA News/Asia Pulse) - Construction company PT Duta Graha Indah said it is bidding for an office building project in Bahrain and an apartment project in Ryadh.

The contract value of the office building project in Bahrain alone is estimated at around Rp500 billion (US$55.5 million), Duta Graha Finance Director Laurensius Teguh said. "We are taking part in the tenders for the two projects.

Hopefully we will emerge as winner and could start work in the two Middle East countries next year," he added.

Duta Anggada almost sells out apartment

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post): Publicly listed apartment developer PT Duta Anggada Realty has sold 97 percent of the 466 apartments at its newly soft-launched CityLofts Sudirman in Jakarta as of the weekend.

"Some 'London', 'Milan', 'San Francisco' and 'Paris' apartments are sold-out," marketing manager Helen Hamzah said in a media statement.

Priced from Rp 900 million to Rp 1.4 billion per unit, CityLofts Sudirman targets young and dynamic executives. Each unit is measured from 80 to 160 square meters and designed in a two-story loft with a small home/office concept.

The concept offers an office function on the first floor and a private area on the second. (nkn)

Water contract negotiations loom

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Jakarta Water Supply Regulatory Body and the city administration plan to turn the tables on two water contractors with whom they will be reviewing an existing agreement.

The regulatory body's head, Achmad Lanti, said Saturday it had proposed to the administration new terms to be looked at during an evaluation process set for January next year.

A 25-year contract the city signed with the two water operators in 1997 is subject to an evaluation process every five years.

The process, the city anticipates, will see private water operators Pam Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja) and Thames PAM Jaya (TPJ) demand a hike in the current water tariff in accordance to the 2004 agreement.

"The body has urged the administration to halt the agreement on periodical water price increase if no revision deals are reached," Achmad told The Jakarta Post.

According to a 2004 agreement with the operators, the administration -- through city-owned water operator PAM Jaya -- is to raise tariffs every semester through 2010 in order to pay off debts of Rp 800 billion (US$88.9 million) owed to the operators.

The debts were incurred as a consequence of not raising tariffs during the Asian economic crisis begun in 1997.

The two operators have asked for a water rate that is 22 percent higher than the current average Jakarta water tariff of Rp 5,932 (0.40 US cents) per cubic meter, the highest rate in the country, according to Achmad.

Meanwhile, the city expects discussion of the operators' performance. "We also want the administration to raise the maximum penalty for the water operators if they fail to meet standards of performance agreed in the contract ... The administration has considered this seriously," he said.

Achmad said operators were subject to fines at a maximum of 1.5 percent of total potential losses should they fail to meet technical targets. "The percentage is too small."

Previously, City Secretary Ritola Tasmaya said the administration had to reinstate its position in the next contract evaluation, pointing out that it was in a "powerless bargaining position in the past".

"We don't want to suffer billions of rupiah in losses, while the penalties for the operators reach only Rp 400 million (US$42,700) at the most. That's outrageous," said Ritola.

The administration, he said, would reject a water tariff hike proposal should the operators "not perform professionally", but was not expecting the contract to terminate.

Although termination was possible, Achmad said, it would cost the administration Rp 6 trillion in compensation.

He said termination of the contract required "a minimum of 10 years of partnership, and February 2008 will be exactly the time."

"I believe the administration does not have as much as Rp 6 trillion to pay in compensation for unilaterally revoking the agreement."

In the meantime, city councillors voiced support for the idea of terminating contracts with Palyja and TPJ, saying retaining the operators would not benefit the city.

Mukhayar, deputy chairman of City Council's Commission D on development, said Saturday the administration should let the operators go, then find a replacement.

"It is evident neither Palyja or TPJ can give good service to the public although they have promised to. We have suffered too many losses because of them," he told the Post.

Tougher drain laws to tackle city floods

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The city administration plans to give heavier sanctions for buildings that do not have adequate rain water drainage -- also known as water harvest -- installations in place, a city official said in a meeting set by the State Ministry of Environment Monday.

The meeting saw officials from the Greater Jakarta Meteorological and Geophysics body and State Ministry of Environment discuss their plans to mitigate flooding.

Ep Fitratunnisa, head of the Natural Resources Utilization division of Jakarta's Environment Management Board, said a 2005 bylaw on water harvest was "inadequate" and would be revised to include penalties and other measures necessary to ensure compliance by businesses.

"We are still working on the details of the revision, but several businesses and parties have asked for clearer rules on water harvest installations, so this is in our agenda."

Bylaw 68 stipulates that developments larger than 5,000 square meters must include a water absorption area of no less than one percent of the total area.

There are at least 12 types of pits that can be used as water harvest installations. The city has urged residents to consider a biopore system and water absorption wells.

The biopore system utilizes a hand-operated drill to make a hole 100 centimeters deep and 30 centimeters wide which is filled with compost to increase absorption.

Water absorption wells are more involved: small pipes are connected to a 1-meter-wide, 1.5-meter-deep well which should be located near a drainpipe and equipped with sedimentation rocks so rainwater can pour directly into the well, instead of pooling on the ground. Such wells cost around Rp 1 million (Around US $110).

"These wells not only absorb water, they also reduce litter in rivers and roads.

Water harvest installations are gaining popularity as short-term solutions to mitigate flooding, a major problem in the city. Floods in 2002 and 2007 were the worst in memory, costing trillions in damages.

According to Dindin Wahidin, speaker from the State Ministry of Environment, part of the blame also goes to bad city planning and the lack of designated green zones and water catchment sites. Green zones in Jakarta account for only nine percent of the city's total area, much less than the minimum 30 percent required by the Home Affairs Ministry.

Water management expert Fatchy Mohammad, also in the meeting, said it would take one million biopores to make a substantial change in flooding.

Depok is currently intensifying the cleaning of artificial lakes while Bekasi had budgeted Rp 250 million for a water absorption well project. Bogor, often blamed for flash floods, had no new plans. (anw)

Campaign says no to plastic, yes to alternatives as trash piles up

Prodita Sabarini, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

Expatriates and locals concerned about the fast build-up of plastic waste in Bali launched a consumer-level waste reduction initiative this year.

The six-month-old campaign -- "Say No to Plastic" or "Bali Cantik Tanpa Plastic" -- has seen retailers in Ubud start to offer affordable alternatives to plastic shopping bags while educating their customers about the plastic problem.

Bali produces more than 5,000 tons of garbage per day, 30 percent of it solid and 70 percent organic.

Each year garbage output goes up 5 percent according to the Bali Environmental Impact Assessment Agency.

Alex Ryan, behind the waste reduction campaign, said people were frustrated with the way trash keeps piling up.

"What we are trying to do with this campaign is to reduce the amount of waste," she said.

"Plastic is a big problem because it takes so long to break down."

She said it takes between 15 and 1000 years for nature to break down a plastic bag -- which is made of petroleum materials -- and the process creates methane which contributes to global warming.

Some 20 stores in Ubud have joined the campaign. They display no-plastic posters and offer packing alternatives such as reusable cloth bags.

At Juice Ja, a cafe and art shop on Jl. Dewi Sartika in Ubud, the idea has caught on.

The cafe has been able to persuade customers to buy cloth bags to carry home their other purchases. "A lot of the customers are already aware about reducing plastic waste," said one of the staff.

He said the cloth bags with "Say No to Plastic" and "I bring my own bag!" logos were popular even though they cost Rp 20,000 each.

Ryan said her group of eight volunteers had done outreach activities in eleven banjar (traditional neighborhood organizations)in Ubud.

"And the response is very positive."

In September last year, the Bali provincial government launched a similar campaign. Sixteen major supermarkets joined the campaign, with Tiara Dewata becoming the first in Bali to provide shoppers an alternative to plastic.

Supermarkets in countries like Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Germany regularly charge customers for carry bags, instead of giving them away.

The resort island faces major waste management problems, with rivers and mangroves forests becoming unofficial garbage dumps.

Garbage piles up on river banks and chemicals leach into streams. The Suwung Dam area near Sanur and the mangrove forests on the line between Denpasar mayoralty and Badung regency are strewn with garbage, mostly plastics.

Nearby, the city landfill is overflowing with garbage from Denpasar and Badung.

The Bali provincial government is currently building a Rp 10 billion (US$1.10 million) waste management center in Bangklet village, Bangli regency. The five hectare-compound with a capacity of 1,000 cubic meters per day will function as an organic waste recycling center.

City promotes water-harvest installations

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

In an effort to avert floods, Jakarta's Environment Management Board has asked university students and companies to help residents make percolation pits and biopore absorption holes to harvest rainwater.

The board's head of environmental damage control Daniel Abbas told The Jakarta Post over the weekend this household intervention could help compensate for water catchment areas being lost to new homes, offices and apartments.

The environmental board hopes 4,000 people -- students and more than 24 companies -- will join the program, which will be launched by Governor Fauzi Bowo at the Sumantri Bojonegoro Stadium, South Jakarta on Dec. 8.

"We are asking the universities to let students assist in the installation of household percolation pits or biopore holes, while companies can use their CSR budgets to help with the financing," said Daniel.

There are at least 12 different types of percolation pits for draining rainwater. The cheapest and simplest is a 100-centimeter deep, 10-centimeter wide hole filled with compost. As worms, insects and fungi work together to decompose the waste, they create pore spaces, allowing rainwater to seep more quickly into the aquifer.

Daniel said residents could choose between percolation pits and biopore absorption holes depending on their budget and the height of the local water table.

"A percolation pit with a capacity of one cubic meter costs around Rp 1 million while creating a biopore hole requires only a drilling tool."

A biopore absorption hole can be as simple as a hole with a diameter of 10 centimeters and depth of 30 centimeters filled with organic waste.

As percolation pits are deeper than biopores they are suitable only in areas not located below sea level.

"Residents in North Jakarta will not be able to build percolation pits because the water level in the area comes within a half meter of the surface," said Daniel.

He suggested that universities make the program a part of the community service curriculum, which is mandatory in most schools.

"Students can transfer knowledge (of the conservation technique to the general public) while getting credit for the program," he said, adding that several universities including University of Indonesia and Trisakti University had confirmed their involvement.

The water-harvesting effort could be fast-tracked, said Daniel, if university students and companies got behind the 10-year program that covers five municipalities.

Water-harvesting is mandated under a 2002 ordinance requiring all building owners, regardless of building size, to set up percolation pits or biopore holes.

However, the environmental board said, so far, there are only about 100,000 pits, while the target is some 2 million pits. (lln)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Revisiting local architecture after disasters

The Jakarta Post

It has been a more than year since the earth shook for 58 seconds in Central Java, shattering thousands of lives in the province and Yogyakarta.

Many people were killed or seriously injured by falling brick walls in their own homes, which had been built with traditional techniques and did not have the engineering necessary to withstand an earthquake.

After more than a year of reconstruction, residents are slowly getting back on their feet. Most of the new houses were constructed collectively by local communities, under the supervision of students, foreign consultants, architects and engineers.

A lot of the built houses used a design provided by local government through their free building permit program, while other housing types were a result of new construction techniques.

Eko Prawoto was one of the many architects that were involved in the reconstruction effort. His design was driven merely to save costs and try to salvage as many building materials as possible from the former houses.

Distributed funds from the government were barely enough to build the core houses, so Eko designed the basic structure and roofing system, derived from traditional pitch roof form, while the rest of the houses were enclosed by salvaged materials. Consequently, each of his houses is personalized and has its own distinct characteristics generated by variations in door and window components.

The reconstruction effort can also be seen as an opportunity to introduce a new construction system that is more robust and resistant to earthquakes. Holcim Indonesia, through its Solusi Rumah program, introduced their new interlocking concrete brick system, which radically reduces wood usage for concrete formworks and speeds up the construction process. The system was widely used to build public facilities such as schools, community centers, public bathrooms and even small housing projects.

While the system simplifies the construction technique, Holcim Indonesia provided an extensive training program for construction workers in order to be assured of its correct application. The modular concrete brick system requires the building to be designed in specific 15 x 15 centimeter modules to maintain its effectiveness and is easily adapted to local house design.

However, not all the houses built within the relief effort were designed to blend with vernacular architectural values. The new housing complex built by the Domes for the World group went in a completely different direction. The houses are constructed in a dome form, similar to the igloos of the Inuit, and are equipped with conventional door and window systems and also skylight to allow natural interior illumination.

Although the geometry of the dome is structurally robust for earthquake resistance, these domes do not accommodate the key parameters for tropical housing design, where the openings need to be fully shaded, and a ventilated roof. Complaints from the present tenants about higher indoor temperature are predictable. On top of that, the whole dome complex appears peculiar and unrelated to the adjacent traditional house design.

On the whole, providing new homes in a recovery effort is always a complex issue. There is no such thing as a single solution. Houses have to be designed with local considerations and adaptable for customization or personalization. Community-based participation in most reconstruction effort plays a key role so that the new houses can be accepted and satisfy the beneficiaries.

|Zenin Adrian can be reached at

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tangerang water supply disrupted

The Jakarta Post

TANGERANG: Water supply to some 86,000 customers in Tangerang municipality and regency was disrupted Friday because of problems at Pintu Sepuluh dam.

Three of 10 sluice gates at the dam on the Cisadane River dam broke down as a result of years of accumulated rust.

Suhanda, a spokesman for Tangerang regency's water company, PDAM Tirta Kerta Raharja, said the damage reduced by more than 75 percent the company's daily water supply.

Most of affected customers were located in Cikokol subdistrict and areas near Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

"The water level fell so low it could not enter our production installation," Suhanda said.

He asked the Water Resources Management Board, as the supervisor of the Cisadane River, to complete repair work on the dam as quickly as possible.

Indra Setiawan, the spokesman for Tangerang city's water company, PDAM Tirta Benteng, said the company was unable to ensure supplies as long as the sluice gates remained out of order.

"We can only apologize to our customers," he said.

The two water companies have yet to calculate their financial losses as a result of the disruption.--JP

Friday, November 23, 2007

Govt warned of climate change impacts

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Researchers graduating from Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) have called on the government to pay serious attention to a range of issues to help Indonesia better deal with the devastating impacts of globally-anticipated climate change.

The experts said they would coordinate with the Ministry of Environment to particularly include those living below the poverty line into the agenda for the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to be held in December in Bali

Endra Saleh Atmawidjaja is an urban expert from ITB and said the government should focus more on urban planning and development, rather than better managing waste to prevent environmental damage.

"Some 30 percent of city land should be used as green public space," Endra said.

"Malls only become artificial public space ... not able to absorb water, (as) parks do."

The various concepts by the researchers would be presented at the Bali conference.

Their research and various ideas are expected to support efforts to minimize the effects of climate change on developing countries due to the overuse of oil, gas and coal.

The implementation of agreements on this issue, like the Kyoto Protocol and the UNFCCC, has been slow, with some developed countries having refused to sacrifice industry to push down levels of green house gas emissions.

Irendra Radjawali is a tropical marine ecology expert and said, "The poor will suffer most ... they don't have the power to adapt to the changes affecting their lives".

"The right preventive actions are needed and research is an important tool ... to predict possible disasters," Irendra said.

And Endra said, "We strongly suggest providing complete data for the vulnerability index to measure the estimations precisely".

Dida Gardera, spokesman for the Ministry of Environment said, "By 2050, the increasing amount of sea water due to global warming is expected to inundate 2,000 islands in Indonesia".

Endra said, "By using this index, we will be able to figure out which islands will be inundated first, then we will prepare the right actions for that".

The vulnerability index, Endra said, was also expected to able to identify different approaches in different sectors.

"The anticipation for prevention in urban areas will differ from that in rural areas," he said.

One of the major concerns about the effects of global warming is the increasing level of urbanization.

Climate changes will decrease supplies of clean water as well as accelerate the loss of land mass, which would force rural people to relocate to urban areas.

Endra said this issue would expand political instability and lead to the decline of foreign investment in Indonesia. (rff)

Students compost in name of nature

Andi Hajramurni, The Jakarta Post, Sengkang

Early in the morning students of SD 199 Sengkang elementary school in Wajo regency, South Sulawesi, were already hard at work. Some of them collected garbage, some separated it into organic and non-organic piles and the rest prepared a mixture of soil and lime powder.

The students were making compost from household waste they had collected from the school and their homes.

Their teacher, Muhammad Sukri, guided them through the process. They mixed the garbage with soil and lime powder and placed the mixture inside an iron barrel.

The barrel was sealed to let the composting process take place. When the barrel is reopened 1.5 to three months later, the mixture will be ready to be used as compost.

Sukri said his students could only produce a small amount of compost, enough to fertilize plants at the school and at several neighboring houses.

They hope they will be able to produce more compost and sell it in the near future, he said, adding that right now they couldn't produce compost on a regular basis due to a lack of materials.

"I not only teach them how to make compost, but I also explain the uses of compost, as well as its role in saving the environment," Sukri said.

Sixth grader Fitrah Husparandi said he learned to make compost in fifth grade.

"I learned that dry leaves and vegetable debris that are usually thrown away as waste can actually be made into compost to fertilize plants," Fitrah said, adding he would like to learn how to produce and sell large volumes of the compost.

The composting program in several schools in Sengkang started a year ago, organized by the Wajo Regional Environmental Impact Management Agency in order to cope with the city's garbage problem and help preserve the environment.

The head of the agency's supervisory unit, Amiruddin Faisal, said they wanted to educate students as early as possible about the environment and the challenges it faced.

"Nowadays many people do not care about the environment. They destroy it gradually, even though they already know that eventually they will also destroy themselves. That's why we want to familiarize our children with the concepts of conserving nature while they are still very young," he said.

So far the agency had encouraged and assisted 32 junior and senior high schools, three traditional markets and some institutions, as well as individual residences in the region, to take part in composting.

Besides making compost and using it as fertilizer for their plants, students also solved some of the problems caused by garbage accumulation.

Amiruddin said the city administration was now able to manage its garbage problems because residents were familiar with the idea of composting. The total amount of Sengkang's garbage could be reduced by 25 to 30 cubic meters per day, he added.

The Wajo administration plans to introduce the program into all schools throughout the regency. It hopes the regency will become cleaner and that all plants in the region will grow well without requiring expensive fertilizer.

"The administration hopes the region will remain clean and green, for the benefit of the residents," Amiruddin said.

LNCSA, Qeystone team up in property business

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

France-based property developer Les Nouveaux Constructure (LNCSA) announced Thursday the signing of an agreement with Qeystone Investments Pte. Ltd. of the United States to establish a new joint venture property company, PT Premier Qualitas Indonesia.

President director of Premier Qualitas, Sami Miettinen, said that with an initial investment of about Rp 100 billion (about US$10.5 million), the new company would focus on the development of exclusive residences in Jakarta and its surrounding areas.

We are confident that this new real-estate development company will be able to provide exclusive residences for the mid to upper sectors of the market," he told reporters at the launching of the joint venture firm.

During the initial stage, the new company would help PT Premier Indonesia, Les Nouveaux's first subsidiary in Indonesia, to manage its new projects, such as the Premier Pavilion development, with 190 units in Cengkareng, West Jakarta, and Premier Mansion development, with 115 units in Pluit, North Jakarta, Miettinen said.

Les Nouveaux entered the Indonesian residential property market in 1998 through PT Premier Indonesia.

Among Premier Indonesia's housing developments are Taman Provence and Fontainebleu Golf Residences in Bumi Serpong Damai, Tangerang; Kayuputih Residence in Pulomas, East Jakarta; Central Park in Kota Wisata, Cibubur; Pinang Ranti Mansion in East Jakarta, and Les Belles Maisons in Serpong, Banten.

Miettinen said that Premier Indonesia would launch its latest housing project, Premier Estate, located in Bambu Apus, East Jakarta, later in December.

"The prices of all of our homes range between Rp 700 million and Rp 1 billion," he added.

Meanwhile, Les Nouveaux president director Guy Welsch said that the establishment of the new joint venture firm reflected the French company's strong commitment to the development of exclusive residences in Indonesia, particularly in Jakarta.

"The Indonesian property business is getting more interesting, supported by the more stable political and economic conditions, and also the more affordable lending rates offered by Indonesian banks," he explained. (nkn)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

S. Jakarta 'hot spot' for developers

Agnes Winarti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Property developers still regard South Jakarta as the "hot spot" for developing mixed-use superblocks despite water shortages and pollution in the area, a property analyst says.

"Most developers eye South Jakarta for mixed-use development because large plots of land are still available there," Coldwell Banker Commercial Indonesia's research and analyst manager, Dwi Novita Yeni, told reporters Tuesday on the sidelines of a third-quarter report seminar on the Greater Jakarta property market.

Mixed-use development refers to the multipurpose use of a building or set of buildings as residential, commercial, industrial, office and institutional premises.

Dwi said mixed-use apartment complexes needed to be built on at least a five-hectare plot of land, which South Jakarta still had plenty of.

Gandaria City, Kemang Village and Nifarro in Jl. Kalibata, are examples of the latest mixed-use developments in South Jakarta.

Dwi said apartments and office buildings were still the largest contributors to the property businesses in Greater Jakarta.

Besides land availability, South Jakarta also offers cheaper land prices than that in the central business district.

In April, land prices along Sudirman and in Kuningan had reportedly reached between Rp 12 million to Rp 20 million per square meter, while those in areas like TB Simatupang, in South Jakarta, sold for a mere Rp 3 million.

Meanwhile, head of the environmental damage control unit at the Environmental Management Agency (BPLHD), Daniel Abas, told The Jakarta Post the environmental condition of South Jakarta is currently at "a very concerning level".

More than 80 percent of the groundwater and surface water in South Jakarta is polluted, 40 percent of which is highly contaminated, he said.

According to BPLHD, during the dry season residents in South Jakarta need to dig deeper wells, some as deep as 16 meters, just to find groundwater, while in the wet season they need to dig about 8 meters.

"The normal depth of a well is between 8 and 10 meters," Daniel said.

He also commented on the overwhelming traffic conditions in South Jakarta. "Almost every street in South Jakarta suffers traffic congestion."

These factors, he said, are indicators that South Jakarta's environment is at an alarming state.

"Property development is only good if it does not harm the environment."

Dwi said developers should have a good understanding of the city's spatial planning regulations, which stipulate that 40 percent of a municipality's area should be designated as water absorption areas, while the remaining 60 percent can be developed.

South Jakarta's 145.73-square-kilometer area includes three districts designated for water conservation; parts of Cilandak, Pasar Minggu and Jagakarsa.

Eight other districts, which include parts of Kebayoran Baru, Pancoran, Mampang Prapatan, Kebayoran Lama and Pesanggrahan, function as "backup" areas for the main conservation areas.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Residents against move to reopen Leuwigajah dump site

Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung

More than 200 people living around the Leuwigajah dump site in Cimahi regency, West Java, have protested plans to reopen the dump, which was closed after a garbage slide killed more than 100 residents in 2005.

Residents protested the reopening following the construction of a 4-km wall around the site.

Residents from East Batujajar village said they were not informed of the plan.

Resident Abdullah said the wall construction began Friday under tight security by police and military personnel.

"We asked officers there and were told the wall was just made along the border of the province's land. But we then learned it was to protect the dump site, which will be reopened. This upset us," said Abdullah, whose house is 20 meters from the wall.

Another resident, Siti Aminah, demanded the project be stopped, saying she and other residents were still traumatized by the 2005 disaster.

"We live peacefully now. Why disturb us again? The trash didn't come from villagers here, but from city residents. Why do we have to suffer?" Aminah said.

Widyo Utomo, who coordinated the protest, said residents have asked the provincial administration, including the province's Environmental Impact Management Agency and Development Plan Supervision Agency, to meet Deputy Governor Nu'Man Abdul Hakim to discuss plans for the reopening.

However, before the meeting could take place, the administration began constructing the wall.

"(We) feel offended, since the government made the plan without considering us, residents who are still traumatized by the disaster," Widyo said.

Head of East Batujajar village, Syaeful Bachri, said he would convey residents' concerns to the provincial administration.

"I have no authority to stop the project since it is the provincial administration's project. But let's calm down and talk about this," he said.

Nu'man said in May this year the Leuwigajah dump site would resume operations since the Bandung city and regency administrations and Cimahi city could not come up with an alternative long-term solution.

Plans to find new dump sites, he said, were faced with objections from residents in the designated places.

He said the administration would work together with British investors to manage a compost factory at the Leuwigajah dump site, adding a feasibility study for the project was conducted in June this year.

He said it was agreed the dump site would defer to the Kyoto Protocol and would not produce gases that worsen climate change.

VP urges earthquake-proof housing

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Vice President Jusuf Kalla on Tuesday urged the wider use of earthquake-proof housing, to prevent the kind of mass casualties seen in previous disasters.

He said that although efforts had been made to mitigate the impact of disasters, people continued to die unnecessarily.

"Although the number of victims in recent disasters has not been as high as the 2004 tsunami, we still need to better apply regulations and technology, and improve people's preparedness to reduce the damage," Kalla said at the opening of an international seminar in Jakarta.

"There's a different culture in housing inside and outside Java. Most houses in Java use ceramic roofing tiles, while houses outside Java use corrugated iron roofing, which results in fewer victims."

Last year, earthquakes devastated Yogyakarta and surrounding areas in Central Java, claiming nearly 6,000 lives, displacing 1.5 million residents and damaging hundreds of thousands of buildings.

Bantul in Yogyakarta and Klaten in Central Java were the worst-hit regions.

The most recent earthquake, which rattled North Bengkulu regency on Sept. 12, damaged more than 30,000 houses and killed dozens of people.

Director of the Center for Earthquake Engineering Dynamic Effects and Disaster Studies, Sarwidi, said Indonesia was obviously a disaster-prone country.

"So in order to create a safe living environment for people, the construction of houses needs to focus on how to reduce the impact of disasters," Sarwidi said during the seminar.

"According to the studies we've conducted, houses with brick walls, or semi-technical houses, were the most frequently damaged in earthquakes, causing the biggest losses in terms of human lives and materials."

He said this type of housing, built on little or no foundation, with poorly reinforced walls and heavy roofing was more likely to collapse when hit by the massive tremors typical of the earthquakes that frequently affect Indonesia, such as Yogyakarta in Central Java, Blitar in East Java and Banggai in Central Sulawesi.

"The foundations for earthquake-resistant houses are simple and cheap, and the houses can be designed in simple symmetrical shapes, such as a rectangle," said Sarwidi.

"The foundation should be placed at the right depth, and have a strong, connecting frame. The use of a light roof, made from material such as corrugated iron, helps make a house more earthquake proof."

He said securing ceramic tiles to wooden or bamboo frames in traditional tile-roofed houses could also reduce damage and fatalities.

Construction expert Wiratman Wangsadinata said any planning of earthquake resilient houses should take into consideration earthquake intensity and frequency.

"Buildings in Jakarta, for example, should be able to withstand 5 to 8.5 magnitude earthquakes within a distance of up to 500 kilometers," he said in a paper. (ndr)

Government allocates Rp300 bln for subsidized housing ownership credits

Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA News) - Public Housing Affairs Minister M Yusuf Asyari said the government had allocated funds amounting to Rp300 billion in 2007 for subsidized housing ownership credits.

"The allocated funds were fully used up by late September 2007," the minister said when officially opening a workshop on the role of regional banks in development of public housing here on Wednesday.

The government`s subsidies were expected to be increased to Rp800 billion for public housing credits, low-cost housing and self-financed housing development.

The minister said the government was planning to build 1.3 million subsidized low-cost houses and upgrade the quality of 3.6 million self-financed houses.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Integrated efforts for sanitation required

The Jakarta Post

The increasing number of diarrhea cases, blamed on poor sanitation, has stirred the government to conduct integrated efforts to improve sanitation in Indonesia.

State Minister for Development Planning Paskah Suzetta said diarrhea was generally caused by low quality drinking water and poor sanitation systems.

"The high number of children suffering from diarrhea and malaria each year shows the handling of sanitation is still facility focused, as opposed to management system focused," Paskah said Monday at the opening of a national conference to accelerate sanitation development.

In addition, he said, the lack of public awareness about a healthy environment, the absence of a comprehensive cross-sector policy on basic sanitation facilities and the provision of inappropriate technology had hampered the improvement of the country's sanitation systems.

"To manage these problems, the government should cooperate with the private sector to create, build and facilitate cheap and proper sanitation systems," Paskah said.

He said funding was one of the most important considerations in improving the country's sanitation system.

"The opening of funding sources, either from domestic financial agencies or bilateral and multilateral cooperation ... for the development of sanitation facilities, will encourage local administrations to employ the mutual endowment method of cooperation, and can be expected to improve sanitation services."

The government estimates mover than 80 percent of Indonesia's underground water in urban areas has been contaminated with Escherichia coli bacteria due to poor sanitation systems, causing 50 in every 1,000 children under five years old to die from complications related to diarrhea.

Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto said the key to managing underground water was to have good waste management based on community involvement.

"Some areas already have final dumping sites but they lack operational sources. We will give them both technical assistance and equipment," he said. (JP/ndr)

Architect proposes lift for Semarang's Pasar Johar

Suherdjoko, The Jakarta Post, Semarang

Pasar Johar market, Central Java's biggest traditional market and a historical landmark in the provincial capital Semarang, has been corroded by seawater over the years, but a group of engineers has a plan to fix it.

In May and June, a section of its 15,000-square meter area was swamped in rising seawater, which leached into the foundations of the market located in Semarang's Kota Lama old city area.

"As an architect, I am very concerned about the condition of Pasar Johar, which is a cultural heritage (building).

"If its unique mushroom-shaped pillars are continually exposed to the elements, the building, which boasts a strong and unique construction, may gradually demolish by itself.

"Coastal erosion has obviously damaged the concrete construction of its base. Therefore, we offer a proposal to raise Pasar Johar without altering its shape," said president director of PT Ecolmantech (Ecology Management Technology and Change), John Wirawan, in Semarang.

He said the method used to raise the building would not harm its structure, thus keeping the original shape of the market which was built by Thomas Karsten in 1933.

It's also hoped that raising Pasar Johar will help dispel rumors that Semarang Mayor Sukawi Sutarip plans to turn it into a modern market.

John, a German-graduated architect, said the technique had been since the 1950s overseas and was used to lift a building in Pulo Gadung, Jakarta, in 1990.

A steel structure would built beneath the building, which would then be raised on hydraulic jacks.

"We will place the jacks in various points to divide its weight equally. We will later raise the jacks all at once to lift the building bit by bit. It will take three to four days to lift the building up to one meter," said John.

The lifting should not damage the structure of the building, and preserving Pasar Johar will be cheaper than rebuilding it, he said.

"The method could cut the cost by half compared to building a new market," said John.

He said the cost of lifting the building was insignificant given that the history of the building made it priceless.

The first building John helped move was the 133-ton upper structure of the fly-over bridge at Taman Ria recreational park in Jakarta. His company was also involved in lifting a floating pier at that time and later raised a building at the Green Wood housing estate in Semarang.

Another architect, Harisanto, 75, said he had also been following the developments of Pasar Johar.

"I used to follow my father, who was Thomas Karsten's trusted technician, when the market was under construction. To me, Pasar Johar is a traditional market designed perfectly by Karsten," he said.

The market's ventilation system protects shoppers from the heat, while it has good natural lighting as well.

History has it that Pasar Johar became the biggest and most modern market in Indonesia as soon as it was completed. Its special trait -- the mushroom-shaped pillars -- was regarded as ahead of its time to its precise construction.

Pasar Johar is currently occupied by 2,628 traders. According to head of the Pasar Johar Traders Association, Prasetyono, his group has objected against any kind of renovation, revitalization, or "whatever terms the authorities use".

"We are already annoyed by any kind of term used," he said.

He said the construction of a shopping center next to Pasar Johar had already sent many traders out of business.

"That's why we reject the idea of raising Pasar Johar," he said.

He said seawater only swamped a small area of the market during certain hours in May and June, and that raising the market was not worthwhile.

"We have improved the southern section, which is dirty and squalid, and repaired the ventilation system. We have also raised the canopy to improve circulation," said Prasetyono.

Semarang Traders Forum chairperson Nurul Huda said the most important issue was not revitalizing the market, but overcoming the seawater intrusion in most parts of Semarang.

"If the Semarang municipality fixed the rising seawater in lower Semarang, it would resolve the problem in Pasar Johar," she said.

John Wirawan said his company would involve social experts, community figures and local politicians in the project.

"The Pasar Johar issue is not only the concern of architects, but everyone will be involved because this project is also in the interests of the general public," said John.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Infrastructure key to Mamuju's progress

Andi Hajramurni, The Jakarta Post, Makassar

Mamuju regency is the provincial capital of West Sulawesi, but poor infrastructure means isolation and poverty for people living there.

The regency's airport and port do not meet national standards while the number of roads and bridges is limited, leaving 45 percent of 8,000-square-kilometer Mamuju trailing behind other regencies in terms of development.

While rich in natural resources -- marine-based, mining, farming and forestry -- some 45 percent of the regency's population of 300,000 still live below the poverty line.

Mamuju Regent Suhardi Duka acknowledged that limited infrastructure, in particular a shortage of roads and bridges, was responsible for the high poverty rate in the regency.

He said poor infrastructure prevented village-dwellers in coastal and mountainous areas from selling their products.

Those regions -- reached only on foot or by horse after a journey of several days -- also suffered in terms of education and health care.

"We have determined to prioritize infrastructure development and improve accessibility, so people can leave their isolation," Suhardi told The Jakarta Post in Makassar, South Sulawesi. He said the regency had rich natural resources.

In the marine sector, fish and seaweed is at approximately 60,000 tons annually.

In agriculture, the regency has some 23,00 hectares of rice fields, 60,000 hectares of cacao and some 20,000 hectares under palm oil production, as well as corn and oranges.

In mining, Mamuju has untouched coal, iron and gold resources.

The regency also has some 500,000 hectares of forest -- both productive and protected.

However, poor infrastructure in the regency means that these resources can't be exploited, because residents aren't able to get their products to market.

For example, products marked for export must pass through Makassar, as Mamuju's port and airport are sub-standard.

The regency has allocated Rp 250 billion for a two-year road and bridge construction plan, to begin in 2007.

This year, the regency budget is Rp 450 billion, of which only Rp 14 billion derives from revenue. Low revenue is also blamed on poor infrastructure.

Apart from a lack of roads and bridges, many parts of the regency still don't have electricity.

Even in the city center, only 20 to 30 percent of residents are tied to the grid of state electricity company, Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN). The others are left in the dark.

"We still have to do many things to develop Mamuju, especially since it is a provincial capital.

"It might take five to eight years for the regency to catch up with development progress (elsewhere)," Suhardi said.

While working to improve infrastructure, the regency's administration is also trying to speed up human resource development.

Currently, the regency makes education -- from kindergarten to senior high school -- and health services -- from the community health centers up to grade three hospitals -- available free of charge.

Better welfare, health services and education are three basic rights of residents that the government has to provide.

"Infrastructure development, as well as free education and health services should be done in an integrated way to reach the goals." -- JP

Old meets new in biopore campaign

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

It's an old technique often used in Indonesia's rural areas, but the campaign for backyard biopore absorption holes (biopores) was heard for the first time in Jakarta on Saturday.

Enthusiasm ran high as experts from the Agricultural Institute of Bogor (IPB) and Erhalogy, a cosmetic brand, talked to Setu Babakan residents in Jagakarsa, South Jakarta.

The household technique, combining waste and water management, involves drilling a hole no bigger than 30 centimeters wide and 100 centimeters deep as an organic waste bin that also increases groundwater absorption.

"The old technique takes on new meaning as it can be used to mitigate flooding and take care of our waste problem," said Kamir R. Brata, professor from the landscape architecture department at IPB, who coordinates the campaign.

In Indonesia, the compost sinks began to receive more attention after February's flood which took numerous lives and caused losses of trillions of rupiah.

In April, the Bogor administration ordered more than 5,000 biopores sunk in 21 subdistricts.

As of June, Bogor had finished more then 22,000 holes. Kamir wants to expand the program to surrounding areas, including Jakarta.

According to Kamir, Jakarta planners have ignored the environment, preventing nature's underground network of roots, insects, worms and rodents from living up to potential.

Biopores return natural function to the ground when organic waste is composted, because insects and worms thrive, multiplying tiny passageways in the soil which absorb water.

"God has already given us the workers to keep floods away, now our duty is to make sure these workers don't leave."

The hole is made with a T-shaped hand drill which rotates clockwise. After the hole is made and tidied up, an effective microorganism (EM) solution is added to speed up decomposition.

All of the tools can be ordered from the landscape architecture department at IPB.

The ideal number of holes depends on the intensity of rains in the area. Adequate, however, explained Kamir, is for five small households sharing one drill to sink 25 holes in the immediate vicinity of their homes.

Dimiati, a corn farmer and producer, is among those who are not yet satisfied with the waste solution. While the holes may be able to deal with household waste, he said, he doesn't think they can handle industrial byproduct, which accumulates tons at time.

"I still don't see it as the solution to the waste problem," he said.

IPB and Erhalogy gave the four neighborhood units in Setu Babakan -- comprising 120 households -- 24 iron drills, 120 waste containers, eight drums of EM solution and ready-to-use EM and EM starter kits.

The donors plan to spend four months making sure the tools are used properly and the biopores maintained properly.

"The company is just concerned about the environment. The way we see it, the surface of the earth is like skin -- it needs pores to stay healthy, so we believe this idea is an innovative way to promote our brand," Erhalogy marketing manager Djoko Kurniawan said.

More information can be found at (anw)