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Jakarta’s Fourth Annual City-Wide Clean-up Invites Everyone to Volunteer

The city of DKI Jakarta produces a staggering 6,700 tonnes of trash a day; the equivalent of one colossal Borobudur Temple made of trash in just two days. It is common to see litter on the roads, sidewalks and in the rivers of Jakarta, the last-mentioned of which becomes a major cause of flooding, one of Jakarta’s most serious problems.

In an attempt to raise awareness about the issues of littering and change the behaviours of Jakarta’s citizens, annual event Clean Up Jakarta Day was born. Founder Angela Richardson believes Jakarta’s littering problem comes down to mindsets. “So many people don’t even realize how detrimental littering can be and hold the opinion that it’s somebody else’s job to clean up the mess,” she said.

“Clean Up Jakarta Day was born to give volunteers a real experience of how bad the situation in Jakarta is so that they will come away from this event willing to change and eager to become a part of the solution.”

On the morning of Sunday, October 16 2016, thousands of Jakarta’s citizens will be keeping the spirit of gotong royong alive by picking up litter and cleaning the capital together in the fourth annual Clean Up Jakarta Day. The aim of the clean-up is to educate people about the detrimental effects of littering, and groom citizens who are responsible and concerned about the cleanliness of the capital.

Volunteers from The Body Shop joining CUJD 2016
Volunteers from The Body Shop joining CUJD 2016

Last year, Clean Up Jakarta Day gathered over 10,000 volunteers at 37 locations around Jakarta, who showed up at the crack of dawn to get their hands dirty, collecting approximately 100 tonnes of trash from off the streets. This year’s clean-up will be held on the morning of Sunday October 16 and is set to be much bigger, with an estimated 20,000 volunteers joining together at 50 clean-up locations.

“Clean Up Jakarta Day plays the role of a platform for all the communities out there to join together on one special day,” says Richardson. “Many great organizations run their own clean-ups throughout the year, and we call on them all, including schools, embassies and businesses, to join forces on October 16 with one united voice, for a cleaner Jakarta.”

Clean Up Jakarta Day is supported by the city’s sanitation department, Dinas Kebersihan DKI, the city’s education ministry, Dinas Pendidikan DKI, and by many ambassadors, including rock band Slank, presenter and actor Mike Lewis, and news anchor and actress Marissa Anita. “Let’s love our city together because when we love Jakarta, Jakarta will love us back,” urges Anita to members of the public.

US Ambassador with Members of Embassy-Community
US Ambassador with Members of Embassy-Community

Volunteers of all ages and nationalities, local and expatriate, are encouraged to join in the activities. In 2015, TV presenter Indra Herlambang volunteered to clean up at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium and believed he learned a lot from being a volunteer. “In the space of two hours, I collected as many as 2kg of plastic bottle caps! Such an interesting and valuable experience,” he said.

The 50 clean-up locations – some public and some private – will cover parks, areas surrounding lakes, public monuments, main roads, and even heritage sites. Taman Fatahillah in Jakarta’s old town will be cleaned by approximately 1,000 volunteers from businesses, schools and the general public. A popular Saturday night hangout, areas such as this are often left strewn with litter once partygoers call it a night.

Businesses are key players in the event, and this year the likes of Lamudi, PT Senayan Trikarya Sempana, ATI Business Group, and Grandkemang Hotel are running clean-up sites that are open for the public to join. The popular expatriate neighbourhood of Kemang will be cleaned by hundreds of volunteers who will be meeting at Grandkemang Hotel, the organizers of this clean-up location. Communities are also onboard:, Indorelawan, Waste4Change and Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik have joined forces to run a public clean-up site in Lapangan Banteng in Central Jakarta. Other communities include Teens Go Green, Komunitas Jendela, and Youth for Climate Change Indonesia.

The theme of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ is prevalent throughout this event, with trash collected in reused sugar sacks, and rubber gloves that all volunteers are told to bring home, disinfect and reuse for household chores. Volunteers are educated to separate litter into recyclable and non-recyclable sacks, and the recyclables collected will be donated to waste banks (bank sampah) across the city.

Volunteers at Gelora Bung Karno during CUJD 2016
Volunteers at Gelora Bung Karno during CUJD 2016

Waste from clean-up sites in Tangerang will be collected by Santa Fe Relocators and taken to Abu & Co., a non-governmental waste management company, who will further sort, recycle and compost, incinerating any remaining waste so that nothing ends up at a landfill.

Noticing the importance of large-scale clean-up events, other cities have started their official Clean Up Days in conjunction with Clean Up Jakarta Day. Clean Up Bandung Day will also be held on October 16 this year, with the support of approximately 5,000 volunteers. There will also be volunteers from Trash Hero in Bali and Lombok organizing smaller clean-ups at the same time to show their support for the cause. Other cities following suit include Tabalong and Banjarmasin, who will be holding their city-wide clean-ups on different dates, but still in the month of October.

Clean Up Jakarta Day is organized by Indonesia Expat and is sponsored by Risco Energy Group, PT Adaro Energy, Danone Aqua, PT Trakindo Utama and Coca Cola Amatil.                                                                                                                                    

To volunteer or for more information, please visit


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