On Wednesday, 8th April 2020, Greeneration Foundation, Waste4Change, and Kitabisa.com held an online press conference through Zoom Meeting. This online press conference serves as a follow-up for the fund-raising that is done along with 67 environmental organizations and/or communities for waste-picker and waste management operators in Indonesia in order to keep them safe from the Coronavirus that has now hit Indonesia, with Jakarta as the red zone of the pandemic.
Up until 7th April 2020, the Indonesian government confirms that 2.738 Indonesian citizens are infected with the Coronavirus (COVID-19), with 224 people recovered and 221 cases that end up with fatalities. This caused the government to perform various measures in order to curb the transmission of the virus. One of those measures is the implementation of physical distancing and the work from home (WFH) policy.
Unfortunately, in reality, not all work can be done remotely or from home. In fact, being able to work from the comfort of our house is a privilege that is not enjoyed by everyone. Such examples are the medical and health workers who are at the front lines in saving and treating the patients that are infected with the Coronavirus. In addition, there are also unsung heroes who are struggling to make a living from managing our waste, namely the waste-picker and waste management operators. They put their life on the line in order to earn some income to feed their families, and to keep our environment clean as well.
Greeneration Foundation encourages all waste communities across Indonesia to collectively help the waste-pickers within our own vicinities. With the collaboration and supports from many parties, we are hopeful that we can create a significant impact and help in protecting Indonesian waste-pickers and waste management operators safe from the COVID-19
stated Vanessa Letizia as the Executive Director of Greeneration Foundation.
In line with Greeneration Foundation, M Bijaksana Junerosano as one of the founders and Managing Director of Waste4Change also delivered the same message aimed to encourage all related parties to cooperate in helping the waste-picker and waste management operators.
Waste management operators and waste-pickers can be said as the rear guardian against the transmission of the COVID-19. Let’s educate and protect them so that the people around them are willing to manage their own waste more carefully and sustainably and in accordance with the waste management standards given by the government. Consequently, they need to be supported through the provision of adequate Self-Protection Equipment and sufficient nutrition in order to prevent them from contracting the Coronavirus. In addition, we will also need to continue segregating our waste, especially infectious waste such as disposable masks and tissue, to avoid them being mixed together with other domestic waste
To illustrate, there are around 6.000 waste-picker families in the Bantar Gebang landfill who are in dire need of our help. With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, infectious waste such as disposable masks has started to accumulate in landfills. Without proper self-protection gear, waste-picker and waste management operators are vulnerable to be infected with the Coronavirus and other diseases that might originate from the infectious waste that is mixed together other domestic waste.
In response to this issue, Mr. Novrizal Tahar as the Director of Waste Management at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry stated that
In the face of this COVID-19 pandemic, there needs to be orchestrated efforts from all elements of the nation, and in this case the government would like to appreciate civil society movements, especially ones that are aimed to protect, prevent, and break the transmission of the Coronavirus within our society, especially the people whose daily activities possess high risks of being infected, such as waste management. Moreover, the government, in this case the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, has issued a Circular Letter which aims to ensure the protection of these waste management operators, and that the general public can take part in preventing and curbing the transmission of the COVID-19 by managing their waste responsibly, especially infectious wase such as disposable masks and others.
This collective spirit of cooperation has also received a welcoming response from Kitabisa.com, one of the largest crowdfunding platform in Indonesia,
Until this very moment, various donations from thousands of good people through the Kitabisa platform has been distributed to various parties who are most affected by the COVID-19. The fund raisings are still ongoing, especially for people who work in informal sectors and cannot afford to perform their work at home, like the waste management oeprators. We will need a large scale cooperation.
added Iqbal Hariadi, Head of Public Relations & Partnership of Kitabisa.com.
Therefore, Greeneration Foundation, Waste4Change, Kitabisa.com, and more than 67 environmental communities encourage all of us to take part in this fundraising by donating whatever amount of money that they are willing to give in order to protect our unsung guardian, the waste management workers, through the following page kitabisa.com/campaign/agarmerekaamancorona. The money that is raised will be used to provide them with basic necessities such as :
- Reusable cloth mask
- Hand soap
- Hand sanitizer
- Rubber/textile gloves
- Nutritional supplies such as fruits, vitamins, and milk for waste-picker, waste management operators, and their family members
Regardless of the amount, we hope that this initiative can help to keep them safe and healthy while they are busy making a living in the middle of this pandemic. The technical procedure for the distribution of the funds will be adjusted according to the amount of money that has been raised. Last but not least, we kindly asked all of you to help in easing their burden by segregating your waste at home.