Makassar. Both government and people are responsible for waste management and healthy environment. Thus, Vice President Jusuf Kalla called on people to change their life style to control waste and realize clean and healthy environment.

“It’s our responsibility, not only the responsibility of central government, mayor, and other officials. People must be aware of this very matter,” said the Vice President in his remarks during the commemoration of Hari Peduli Sampah Nasional (HPSN) 2016 or the National Waste Awareness Day 2016 held in Celebes Convention Center on Jalan Metro Tanjung Bunga Makassar, Saturday (Mar 5).

He then recounted a tragedy caused by a bad waste management on February 21, 2005, that is during his first tenure of Vice Presidency, when a garbage slide at the Leuwigajah dump site in Cimahi, West Java province, killed 143 people.

“We are here not to celebrate the day. We are here to prevent such a tragedy to happen again in the future,” he said.

According to him, the change in the way people live and economic development have contributed to the increasing amount of garbage.

“Housewives used to cook with traditional seasonings. But now, almost all of the seasonings are wrapped in plastics, and thus we dump more and more plastic garbage every day,” he said, underscoring his concern on particularly plastic garbage.

Responding to the recent issue of numerous cable jackets found in sewers on Jalan Merdeka Selatan that used to cause floods in the prime area, the Vice President underlined the importance of cleaning the environment, including the sewers, regularly.

“I have warned for several times, the solution for this is that each owner of the building is made responsible for the sewers in front of their buildings. They have to clean the sewers by themselves, so that they won’t arrogantly waste things into it,” he affirmed.

On waste management, Mr Kalla emphasized 3R, namely Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse.

“We already knew the principle very well. This is actually a simple principle,” he said.

Concluding his remark, Vice President instructed all regional leaders to take a step following up the results of some cabinet meetings on garbage utilization for electricity, fertilizer, and biogas.

“We have discussed this garbage issue for five times, especially on how to transform garbage into electricity. Now we need the real action instead of further discussion,” he said.

Following his remarks, the Vice President witnessed the signing of mutual agreement on disseminating idea of paid plastic bags by 21 mayors and Indonesia Retailer Association (Aprindo) chairman, the signing of mutual agreement and the launching of integration of garbage banks and digital environment medium-sized business (UKM) village between Environment and Forestry Minister and Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister, and the handover of UKM permits (IUMK) and micro credits (KUR) by Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister to 8 units of garbage banks.

Also attending the event were Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Ferry Mursyidan Baldan, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya, Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Anak Agung Gede Ngurah Puspayoga, and BRI CEO Asmawi Syam. (D/F)