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Jakarta's slums struggle with sanitation JAKARTA - In Jakarta's northern Muara Angke coastal area, a lack of access to piped water has forced people to bathe and wash clothes using murky grey water from fish ponds. "I don't feel disgusted at all. Iíve gotten used to it," Ibu Nunung, who shells mussels for a living, told IRIN outside her house in Muara Angke Blok Empang, a slum in the area.

Nunung said residents, many of whom live on less than US$2 a day, had to fork out the equivalent of up to $1 daily to buy clean water for drinking and cooking from vendors transporting water in jugs. She admitted that itchy skin was a common problem among locals. Jakarta, a city of 10 million people, is dotted with slums like the one in Muara Angke.

Many people live without running water in shanty towns built in the shadow of gleaming skyscrapers, and gutters are clogged with rubbish, causing foul smells. Less than 50 percent of Jakarta's residents have access to piped water, according to the NGO, which runs water, sanitation and health programmes in the city.

"Poor sanitation, lack of access to clean water, overcrowding and poor nutrition are among [the] major problems in Jakarta, and the government's commitment is needed to address these problems." Erlyn Sulistyaningsih, a project manager with Mercy Corps Indonesia.

More than 75 percent of the city's residents rely on shallow groundwater, but an official study found that 90 percent of shallow wells are contaminated with coliform bacteria or heavy metals, Mercy Corps said in a 2008 publication entitled Urban Poverty Reduction Strategy. Jakarta produces 6,000 tons of waste each day, but can only manage 50 percent of it, it said.

Sulistyaningsih heads a project aimed at increasing access to sanitary facilities, including toilets, providing access to clean water, and educating child caregivers about nutrition in several villages in Jakarta and neighbouring Bekasi District. "Our programme seeks to prevent diseases which are spread by the faeces-to-mouth route, and we hope it can be replicated by other communities," she told IRIN.

Crowded houses around a public dumping area at a slum in Jakarta.
Crowded houses around a public dumping area at a slum in Jakarta. © Jefri Aries/IRIN



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Related blog entries (category 'Health') Tags: Jakarta, slum, health, sanitation, problems


Posted in Health @ 17 April 2010 02:33 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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