Posted inArticle / Climate change

Climate crisis-aware, Lampung residents move towards waste recycling, urban farming

Urban dwellers are increasingly more aware of the impacts of climate change. Residents of Bandar Lampung City are taking concrete actions to protect their environment.

For a number of housewives in Bandar Lampung, the capital of Lampung province in the southernmost part of Indonesia’s Sumatra, protecting the environment is not just plain talk. They recycle waste, including plastic, and grow their own organic food at home as part of efforts to alleviate the impacts of climate change.

Okta Fiantimala (45), appeared busy putting plastic garbage from snack packagings into gunny sacks at her home in the Labuhan Ratu Raya urban ward of Bandar Lampung that day, early in October 2021. She will clean the plastic waste and cut into pieces before stuffing them into plastic bottles to make ecobricks.

In just the past two months, Okta has to collected dozens of gunny sacks of plastic waste from households that weigh around 200 to 250 grams each. At the time of this interview, she has seven plastic bottles packed with plastic waste nicely stored at her garage.

“My plan is to make a small chair,” said Okta of the ecobricks she produced.

Each of the plastic bottles are carefully weighed and recorded, and the data uploaded on the ecobricks website managed by the Global Ecobrick Alliance (GEA), an organistation that gathers data from ecobrick activists from across the globe to see how much plastic waste has been recycled.

It was from from the GEA site that Okta learned about recycling and participated in their online training on how to produce and use ecobricks.

Okta is not making ecobricks just for fun. She is fully aware how she can take part in reducing the impact of plastic waste on the environment

By making ecobricks, I am contributing to preventing plastic waste from damaging the environment. If burned, plastic waste would be dangerous as it releases microplastic to the air and the process will contribute to increasing greenhouse gas emission that is causing climate change.

Okta Fiantimala

Beside recycling plastic waste, Okta also recycle used cooking oil into soap, and fruit and vegetable waste into eco-enzymes. Her efforts are aimed at reducing if not eliminating her household waste from contaminating the environment.

To produce the soap, Okta will pour used cooking oil into a water and caustic soda mix. She then pour the oil and water mix into molds and let them sit for a whole month to allow the chemical content to dissipate. Once they are set, the reculed soap can be used to wash clothes and household cloths.

Meanwhile the eco-enzyme is produced by naturally processing fruits and vegetables skin. After being thoroughly washed, the waste is mixed with water and cane sugar and stored in a tight container for three months before it could be used as a multiporpose cleaner, air freshener or for pest control. 

Okta said, not only her recycling activities is helping to protet the environment, but she has also been able to save Rp50,000 (USD4) every month, the amount she would spend on detergent and soap.

Besides taking online courses, the mother of three also learned how to process the household waste by asking environmental activists she personally know or through social media.

In 2017, Okta and 12 other women founded the Nabbay Hanggum Community. Initially they focused on distributing used clothes but now they are more focused on environmental actions. Nabbay Hanggum provides training for women on how to process household waste and has trained over 300 housewives in Bandar Lampung.

One of their most sought after trainings is on how to make soap from used cooking oil. The readily available raw material and short production time makes it easy for participants to immediately practice it at home.

For the less inclined, they can still participate by bringing over their used cooking oil in exchange for various kitchen supply such as soy and chili sauce. The community now is working with some 30 food stalls that collect used cooking oil.

Not all of the used cooking oil is processed into soap. Some will be sold to PT Indo Energy Solutions which will use it to produce biodiesel. The selling price of used cooking oil fluctuates between Rp 4,000 and Rp 6,00 per liter.

The proceeds from the sale will be used to provide monetary assistance to cover household needs, school, or medication for the members of the community.

Sarlita (48), a member of Nabbay Hanggum said that she became interested in joining the group because she also wanted to be able to contribute in the protection of the environment.

“I am happy because I can give away soaps from used cooking oil to my neighbors. They say their washing is cleaner too,” said Sarlita. 

Urban farming

The awareness about sustainable environment is also rising among Bandar Lampung’s youth. Millennials in the city are turning into urban farming, growing organic vegetables on their back or front yard, and even on their rooftop.

Meza Yupita Sari (29) turned her yard into a hydroponic farm in 2017. For the Lampung native, it started as a hobby but now she is making good side income.

She also recently turned her rooftop into a hydroponic farm. Every month, Meza can supply 500-600 packs of various vegetables, such as lettuce, mint leaves, and pakcoy to supermarkets in Bandar Lampung. In addition, he also supplies vegetables for several restaurant businesses, earning an extra income between Rp3-Rp5 (USD210-USD350)million a month.

The agriculture undergraduate said hydroponic farming plays a role in protecting the environment because it utilizes organic materials for both fertilizers and pesticides. “If there is a pest attack, I use the juice of papaya leaves and garlic to be sprayed on plants as natural pesticides,” said Meza.

How ever, Meza did not deny that climate change has been a challenge for hydroponic farmers in maintaining their crop. Unpredictable rain and heat patterns make their crop more vulnerable to pest attackes.

Suparji, the group coordinator for data and information of the Pasawaran Climatology Station in Lampung, said that his office has conducted an analysis on climate change in Lampung in the last four decades, involving four local stations of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG.)

The air temperature measurement at the Radin Inten II meteorology station in South Lampung for example, has shown a shift in the average temperature per decade. In the first decade (1976-1985), the average air temperature was between 24.5-27 degree Celsius. While in the fourth decade (2006-2016), the average temperature was at 25.5-28 degree Celsius. 

Based on this analysis, Suparji said there is a shift in the average air temperature from 26-26.5 degrees Celsius.

Suparji added climate change has also led to a change in rain pattern in Lampung which resulted in longer dry season and shorter rainy season.

Apart from growing interest in urban farming among the millennials, the neighborhood family welfare development committee, locally known as PKK, has joined the farming bandwagon. In Susunan Baru urban ward for instance, the members, mostly comprises of women, worked a vacant plot of land owned by the local ward and turned it into a vegetable garden that produces water lilies, aubergines, chilli and tomatoes. There are also guava and mango trees there.

The head of the PKK group, Alimah, said that members take turns to care and maintain the crops. The harvested products are distributed  among members and sold to local vegetable sellers. The committee hopes that its activities will encourage residents to consider and move towards greening their yards as well.

Arif Setiajaya, a lecturer at the Environmental Technical Studies Program of the Sumatra Technology Institute, said that the concrete actions of housewives in Bandar Lampung can become solutions environmental problems that are leading to climatic change.

Arief added that when done at a much larger scale, these actions can help reduce the greenhouse gas emission produced from poor waste management, and they should be supported.

“People who do not understand how to treat plastic waste would usually choose to burn them, resulting in carbon monoxide gas that would add to the greenhouse gas emission.”

Read also: Plastic Trash Runs Down the Solo River to Pollute the Java Sea

Urban planning

Arif said that climate change can also prompt various hydro meteorological disasters. Seasonal changes can trigger floods and drought while rising temperatures can lead to forest fires. A high level of glass house gas emission can also lead to air pollution.

Arif said local administration should devise strategic policies to address climate change. A couple examples of that are to consider and pay attention to ecological impacts of development, and push for smart, and low-carbon emission urban management.

The head of the Bandar Lampung Planning and Development Board, Khaidarmansyah explained that the development of the city of Bandar Lampung is geared towards the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). An adaptation to climate change is one aspect that is being given serious attention in the development and the planning of the city.

Several development priorities in mitigating the impacts of climate change include the normalization of rivers, improvement of the drainage system, and waste management at the Bakung landfill.

The city currently produces up to 1,000 tons of garbage per day and most of it end up at the Bakung landfill. The Bandar Lampung administration is currently exploring a partnership with the private sector to process waste at the Bakung site into briquettes or energy for electricity, in a bid to overcome the city’s waste problems and reduce greenhouse glass emission.

A few investors have expressed interest. But They are still calculating as the investment is not small. There needs to be certainty in the marketing of briquettes or energy produced from waste.

Khaidarmansyah, Head of Bandar LampungPlanning and Development Board

Berdasarkan data Dinas Lingkungan Hidup Bandar Lampung, pada 2021, estimasi emisi gas rumah kaca di TPA Bakung mencapai 2,09 juta meter kubik. Jumlah itu lebih tinggi dibandingkan pada 2020, yakni sebanyak 1,77 juta meter kubik.  

Selain pengelolaan sampah, pemkot juga mengoperasikan bus rapid transit  untuk mengurangi penggunaan kendaraan pribadi. Penataan kota juga juga mempertimbangkan fungsi ekologi dengan mempertahankan kawasan perbukitan sebagai daerah resapan air. 

Data from the Bandar Lampung Environment Office showed in 2021, the estimated greenhouse gas emission produced at the Bakung landfill reaches 2.09 million cubic meters of g, a considerable uptick from the previous year’s 1.77 million cubic meters.

The Bandar Lampung administration has upgraded the public transportation system through the operation of rapid transit buses in a bid to reduce personal vehicles on its roads. The city planning also takes into account the ecologic function by maintaining the hilly areas as water catchment areas.

Khaidarmansyah added, the administration also continues to support public campaign for the greening of house yards and the recycling of household waste including recognising and appreciating urban wards that have adopted innovations in waste management.

Artikel ini merupakan bagian dari “Story Grant Peliputan Lingkungan Hidup” yang diadakan Ekuatorial dan Masyarakat Jurnalis Lingkungan Indonesia (SIEJ), serta terbit pertama kali di Kompas.id pada 23 Oktober 2021 dengan judul ‘“Ecobrick” dan Sabun Minyak Jelantah untuk Kurangi Perubahan Iklim’.

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