The closure of the Piyungan Landfill in Bantul, Yogyakarta, since July 23, 2023, has led to an uncontrolled waste situation. This decision was made due to the landfill’s capacity being exceeded.
In response, UGM political experts and the UGM Center for Environmental Studies have revealed several facts regarding regulations and societal waste awareness.
“The question is, why is there an outcry only after it’s full and closed? Have we not had a waste problem all this time? Now we can see that what we thought was being managed wasn’t,” said Nur Azizah in a discussion series titled “Piyungan Penuh, Masyarakat Gaduh” (Full Piyungan, Restless Society) on Tuesday (8/8).
She emphasized that public awareness of waste is minimal, even after the closure of the Piyungan Landfill resulted in garbage piling up in residential areas.
“This closure is not the first time. It’s been recurring without a proper solution,” Nur Azizah added.
Regulations concerning waste management have been established under Law Number 18 of 2008 on Waste Management. Unfortunately, the implementation of these regulations is still lacking.
“If we look at the law, it’s quite advanced. It mentions the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and even introduces EPR or Extended Producer Responsibility. If we check back to 2008, Final Disposal Sites were changed to Final Processing Sites. So, in theory, the law has adopted that only residue should go to the sites,” explained Nur Azizah.
Not only that, the regulations also aim to transform all landfills in Indonesia into sanitary landfills within five years. However, in practice, the majority of landfills are used merely for waste accumulation, not proper waste management.
Moreover, there are no instruments for supervision and evaluation. This has resulted in poorly managed waste piles in landfills until 2021.
Besides regulations, the community also plays a crucial role in waste management. One effort to enhance awareness is through education.
Such an effort has been underway since 2021 by Suci Lestari Yuana, a lecturer at the UGM Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, who established a circular economy school.
“We always think that if we want long-term change, we should start with education. We invited school principals from Java for now. We introduced a simple yet impactful circular economy system,” Suci Lestari Yuana stated.
“Many misunderstand circular economy. Most focus on managing waste at the end stage. However, from production and distribution to consumption, each stage generates waste. This is what we rarely discuss and understand. Even small activities generate waste.”
The circular economy school provides understanding to schools to reduce waste in learning activities, such as bringing their own utensils, creating eco breaks, and learning waste separation.
“Improvements in societal culture should also be supported by infrastructure and system improvements. We shouldn’t end up with a system that directs waste management solely to landfills when our society is diligent in waste reduction and separation. Cooperation is needed from various sectors, particularly society and the government,” added Yuana.