An article in The Jakarta Post.

Green Cities”, the theme of this year’s Earth Day, is a popular term for what activists and scholars call an ecological city. The Jakarta Post’s Sebastian Partogi talks to Marco Kusumawijaya about the issue. Marco is the founder and director of Ruang Jakarta Center for Urban Studies, an NGO focusing on urban issues. Following are excerpts of the interview:

Question: What is the exact definition of an ecological city?

Answer: Putting it briefly, an ecological city is one that minimizes the use of energy and places maximum effort on renewing utilized energy. By taking these actions, we help the environment to renew its resources. On the other hand, when we exploit non-renewable energy indefinitely, we have done two things: caused a depletion of natural resources and polluted the environment. As a result, the environment has gradually lost its capacity to sustain our lives – we have seen so many species being extinct because of this.

The huge volume of solid waste has always been a problem in Jakarta. According to data from February 2013, the city produced approximately 6,500 tons of garbage every day. What actions should we take to deal with this problem?

So far, Jakartans have been handling solid waste incorrectly. Ideally, we should not dispose of organic waste but recycle it into compost fertilizer instead and get rid of non-organic waste in its entirety.

Actually, as a big capital city, Jakarta is still quite fortunate because some 60 percent of its solid waste production is still organic and, thus, biodegradable. In advanced countries, organic waste represents only some 30 percent of its solid waste production. What we should do now is to get rid of plastic consumption in favor of a biodegradable material and transform all of the organic waste into compost fertilizer so as to renew its utilization.

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