September 8, 2023 – West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil on Wednesday (9/8/2023) has announced the name of the winner of the tender that will build and manage the Legok Nangka Waste Processing and Final Processing Site/ Tempat Pengolahan dan Pemrosesan Akhir Sampah (TPPAS) in Citaman Village, Nagreg District, Bandung Regency. Therefore, there will be a Waste-to-Energy facility or incinerator for the Waste Power Plant at that location. The TPPAS Legok Nangka will burn waste sent from six regions, namely Bandung City, Cimahi City, Bandung Regency, West Bandung Regency, Garut Regency, and Sumedang Regency.
Not long after the announcement, the Sarimukti Landfill experienced a fire incident for more than 7 days and led to the announcement of the waste emergency status by Ridwan Kamil. In response to these two incidents, AZWI, WALHI West Java, WALHI National, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), called for a halt to the use of thermal technologies such as incinerators. The West Java Provincial Government and the West Java Environment Agency need to review the decision to choose this waste burning technology in the midst of a waste emergency.
Meiki Paendong, Executive Director of WALHI West Java stated, “The high cost of incinerator tipping fees and the put-or-pay mechanism in the cooperation contract is an imposition that is very risky and burdens public funds owned by district and city governments. The Sarimukti landfill fire is one indication that the current budget is far from sufficient to operate a safe landfill.”
Meiki emphasized that incinerators are the most expensive way to handle waste and generate electricity. According to him, cities and regencies still need a huge additional budget to manage waste in a segregated manner and reduce waste at source, especially organic waste which dominates Metro Bandung’s waste generation.
He also added that funding for incinerators should be diverted to manage organic waste which is the culprit of the Sarimukti landfill fire and Leuwigajah landfill explosion. “Investing in composting has the potential to generate at least 6 times more new jobs than incinerators,” added Meiki.
Abdul Ghofar from WALHI’s National Executive said, “The Legok Nangka Waste Power Plant project is burdening and harming the country’s finances with a 100 million dollar debt loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), part of the World Bank. Ghofar also criticized the winning of the Legok Nangka Waste Power Plant tender to a Japanese consortium company. “The determination of incinerator technology was allegedly influenced by the results of technical assistance by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which led to the winning of the Sumitomo – Hitachi Zosen consortium, a Japanese company selling incinerators in various countries. The huge tipping fee will benefit the Japanese but harm the people who pay through taxes,” continued the urban issues campaigner.
In addition, the International Waste Pickers Alliance also reported that incinerators and privatization of the waste sector are very detrimental to waste pickers and informal workers in the waste sector.
Another deal that is detrimental to local governments is related to subsidies. This will lead to a reduction in the budget available for sorting, recycling and generation limitation efforts which are the targets of Local Policy and Strategy on Municipal Solid Waste or also known as JAKSTRADA.
GAIA’s response: Waste and the climate crisis
Meanwhile, Yobel Novian Putra from the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) emphasized the negative consequences of incinerators on the climate crisis. “Incinerators
will only replicate the Sarimukti landfill fire that released greenhouse gasses on a large scale. Like the landfill fire, incinerators burn a mixture of different types of waste, both organic waste and plastics made from fossil fuels.” Recent studies have shown that incinerators in the US, UK and Europe release more greenhouse gas emissions than coal-fired power plants. “Burning organic waste only converts methane gas emissions from organic waste into massive CO2. This will only keep Indonesia away from the Paris Agreement target and the Global Methane Pledge agreement that Indonesia signed recently,” criticized Yobel who is a Climate Policy Officer from GAIA.
Responding to the greater Bandung area waste crisis related to the Sarimukti landfill fire, Meiki emphasized, “Burning waste, especially wet organic waste, is very inefficient and only converts one problem into another. On the other hand, technologies such as composting and bio-conversion (e.g. Black Soldier Fly) or maggot can prevent methane gas emissions at a unit cost that is much cheaper, easier, and has multiple benefits.” He also added that when the Sarimukti landfill could not be used, the Legok Nangka Final Processing Site should have been used to overcome the waste crisis. But because the facility is bound by the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme, it cannot even be opened.
Therefore, we, civil society organizations, are of the view that the incinerator is not a solution to the waste problem and will only cause new social and environmental problems. Not only that, it is possible that it will burden the finances of local and city governments.
Siti Dzakiyyah, Media Relations Officer. Aliansi Zero Waste Indonesia | email@example.com | +62 852-1580-9537
Meiki Paendong, Executive Director, WALHI West Java | firstname.lastname@example.org | +62 857-2145-2117
Yobel Novian Putra, Climate Policy Officer, GAIA | email@example.com | +62 821-2818-4440
About Alliance Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI) | The Zero Waste Indonesia Alliance is an association of organizations consisting of YPBB, GIDKP, Nexus3 Foundation, PPLH Bali, ECOTON, ICEL, Nol Sampah Surabaya, Greenpeace Indonesia, Gita Pertiwi and WALHI. AZWI campaigns for the correct implementation of the Zero Waste concept within a mainstreaming framework through various Zero Waste activities, programs, and initiatives that already exist to be implemented in various cities and regencies in Indonesia by considering the waste management hierarchy, material life cycle, and sustainable production and consumption approaches.
About WALHI West Java | Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) is an independent and non-profile environmental organization established on October 15, 1980. WALHI has more than 500 member organizations and 28 regional offices, one of which is WALHI West Java. WALHI is affiliated with the Friends of the Earth International Federation. An international grassroots organization in 76 countries.
About GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives) | GAIA is a network of grassroots groups and national and regional alliances representing more than 1000 organizations from 92 countries. GAIA focuses on waste and environmental justice issues and works to strengthen grassroots social movements that advance solutions to waste and pollution.
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (2021). The High Cost of Waste Incineration. https://www.no-burn.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/The-High-Cost-of-Waste-Incineration-March-30.pdf
Ribeiro-Broomhead, J. & Tangri, N. (2021). Zero Waste and Economic Recovery: The Job Creation Potential of Zero Waste Solutions. Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. https://www.no-burn.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Jobs-Report-ENGLISH-1.pdf