Jakarta Green Monster: Ragunan, Jakarta, West Java
The existence of wetlands in a metropolis like Jakarta is crucial to the wellbeing of the city and its residents. Wetlands nurture wildlife, absorb excess rainwater and provide a natural laboratory and a recreation area. Jakarta’s wetlands has shrunk to less than 6 percent of the city area, and will keep diminishing unless serious action is taken to stop its destruction.
Among the consequences of wetlands destruction are unseasonable droughts and floods, which claim victims and cause ailments like skin diseases and respiratory infections. Yet the continuing housing developments in the wetlands reveal that public awareness on this unique ecosystem and its social and health benefits remains low as Ani Suswantoro explains.
Realizing the seriousness of the issue, several environmentalists backed by the Fauna and Flora International-Indonesia program set up in 2006 Jakarta Green Monster (JGM), a non-governmental organization to save the wetlands of Jakarta.
The JGM aims to create a sustainable, healthy environment in the capital while promoting wetlands conservation and encouraging public participation in environmental conservation. It works closely with the local community, local authorities and relevant institutions like the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) of Jakarta, as well as the Jakarta government.
The continuing existence of the native mangrove forests in Muara Angke is in everyone’s interest.
“We encourage people to make the most of nature, develop accessibility such as the newly built bridge at Muara Angke Wildlife Reserve and launch campaigns to love nature. When people love Angke, they will care for its wellbeing,” said Frank Momberg, the Asia-Pacific regional director of development at Fauna and Flora International.
JGM presently bases its activities at the Muara Angke reserve. At only 25.02 hectares, it is the smallest wildlife sanctuary in Indonesia, yet it is unique and no less important.
“Among our activities, we facilitate and educate local communities to manage their waste, monitor water birds and river water quality, and guide schoolchildren and the public to explore Muara Angke wildlife,” said Hendra Aquan, a JGM volunteer.
“Waste is a big problem for Jakarta in general, and for Muara Angke in particular. Jakarta produces about 6,000 tons of waste daily; 58 percent comes from household waste, 15 percent from industries and 15 percent from other sources,” Hendra said.
“Of household waste, 65 percent is organic waste. So the role of housewives in waste management is very significant. We therefore work closely with them in areas around Angke, educating and supervising them on this issue,” he added.
An ideal Muara Angke — one that is clean and lush, and where wildlife thrives and people live in harmony with nature — is still far from reality; but the JGM is taking concrete steps towards realizing this dream for the benefit of all Jakartans.
Jakarta Green Monster
Kompleks Laboratorium Pusat
Jl. Harsono RM No. 1
Ragunan, South Jakarta
Tel: (021) 79800981