80% of Respondents Say the Government Ignores River Management in Indonesia

The Nusantara River Expedition Team from March 2022 to December 2022 has conducted a survey on public perceptions of river management in Indonesia with a total of 1188 respondents who are domiciled in 166 cities in 30 provinces. 92% of respondents stated that the river ecosystem is very important for human life and supports Indonesia’s development, but 82% stated that the Indonesian government still ignores river management in Indonesia, the impact is that 68 Indonesian rivers are polluted with microplastics originating from shards of plastic waste thrown into rivers, Indonesia is a country the second fastest in the world in the extinction of freshwater fish. Apart from domestic (household) waste, namely waste and liquid waste, industrial waste, deforestation, mining activities, and palm oil and agricultural plantation activities pay for pollutants, pesticides, and fertilization. Indonesian people need the information to get to know the river better.

Brantas river looks dirty because of plastics waste

Indonesian Rivers are being Polluted

90.7% of respondents stated that the current condition of the Indonesian River was Polluted (13.9% stated that it was highly polluted, 31.2% lightly polluted and 45.6% moderately polluted), while only 5.1% stated that the river condition was not polluted while 4.3% % stated do not know

In Government Regulation Number 22/2021 concerning the Implementation of Environmental Protection and Management, it states that Environmental Pollution is the entry or inclusion of living things, substances, energy, and/or other components into the Environment by human activities so that they exceed the Environmental quality standards that have been set. One of the environmental quality standards regulated in PP 22/2021 is that every river in Indonesia must contain zero waste.

Respondents mentioned that the facts stating that Indonesian rivers were polluted were:

  1. Indonesian rivers still find trash (70.7%)
  2. Indonesian river water was found to be foamy, discolored, and smelly (19.4%)
  3. There are still mass dead fish events in the river (3.5%)

These three facts can be the strong reasons that the government is not serious about managing water quality and neglecting efforts to control pollution resulting in the generation of waste in rivers, physical changes in rivers, and even the discovery of mass dead fish.

The river full of domestic waste

Trash and Domestic Waste is the Biggest Contributor to River Pollution

77.2% stated that pollution indicators were easy to find plastic waste (38.8%) and domestic liquid waste, while 15% stated that the source of pollution came from industrial liquid waste. 7.8% of respondents stated that river pollution comes from deforestation, pesticides from agricultural activities, oil palm plantations, mining, mining and B3 waste.

The community still has high hopes for the Government to make efforts to restore the river from pollution through:

  1. Strict monitoring and supervision efforts, so that perpetrators of violations can be given sanctions so that acts of destroying or polluting rivers become a deterrent and are not restored (48%).
  2. To control the massive use of single-use plastic which is a source of waste in Indonesian rivers, the public wants regulations to reduce or punish single-use plastic (34.7%)
  3. Imposing criminal sanctions on industrial polluters (17.3%)


68% of people need waste management facilities

In Indonesia, only about 35% of people are served by waste management facilities, and 65% of people in Indonesia have not been served by waste facilities. In Indonesia, the focus of waste management is only in urban areas, and housing, and has not yet targeted remote villages and even communities/residents living on river banks. The uneven distribution of waste management and service facilities in Indonesia has resulted in mismanagement of waste by the community, one of which is by throwing garbage into rivers, open burning, and burning and piling up waste in open environments. In a survey conducted by Ecoton in 2022 regarding community perceptions regarding river management, 68% of respondents asked the government to provide waste management facilities in the form of TPS 3R and garbage drop-offs along the river.


The community is READY to Report!

Knowing about the pollution and damage to the surrounding rivers, the Indonesian people were proactive in reporting or complaining about it to environmental agencies or/to the government and apparatus at the village level, only 15.2% were silent or passively did nothing when they learned about pollution. Efforts made by the community when pollution occurs are:

  1. 3% Reported to the Head of the smaller area, Head of the area, or Head of the Village
  2. 4% Upload events via social media (Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp group)
  3. 1% Reported to City/Regency Environment Service in order

To become more familiar with the rivers in Indonesia, the community needs information about rivers so that community participation in controlling river pollution and awareness to preserve rivers can be grown. The information content required is:

  1. sources of pollution in the river (type of pollutant, character of pollution) 14.4%,
  2. potential biodiversity of fish, plants, and river biota (21.1%),
  3. authorized agency that manages the river by 8.6%,
  4. the impact of pollution on the environment and health (31%) and
  5. best practice river management (24.9%)


Community participation in efforts to prevent environmental pollution through complaints.

Knowing the pollution and damage to the river in the vicinity, the community must actively participate in monitoring, because the active role of the community in protecting and managing the environment is regulated as protected in Law Number 32 Concerning Environmental Protection and Management article 70. In addition, the community can also see the Minister of Environment Number P. 22/MENLHK/SETJEN/SET.1/3/2017 Concerning Procedures for Management of Complaints of Alleged Environmental Pollution and Damage, guided by these two regulations, the community can actively make complaints by coming directly to the Environmental Service office verbally or through written complaint letters regarding environmental pollution according to the complaint mechanism contained in the regulation.


Government Effective Efforts to prevent the rate of waste contamination and domestic waste.

Thru a survey of people’s perspectives about rivers in Indonesia over a period of almost 1 year spread across 30 provinces in 166 cities and filled with around 1,188 respondents, proving that the government must immediately make concrete and serious efforts by:

  1. Expanding waste management services to remote villages, the government has built 3R TPS in every village supported by garbage facilities (garbage drop-off points) in remote villages and communities living along rivers:
  2. Resolving overlapping river management authorities, it is time for the government to cut bureaucracy and overlap between river management agencies so that the river management budget and management agency performance can be maximized;
  3. Focusing the APBD and APBN budgets for river management, the government must immediately increase the budget in each region for river management and waste management by maximizing waste management and waste facilities in every densely populated area;
  4. Create a breakthrough pollution complaint system that is easy, efficient, and systematic, it is necessary to educate the public about procedures for making pollution complaints, so that the community has no difficulty in carrying out advocacy efforts if they find an environmental violation;
  5. Maximizing environmental law enforcement so that a deterrent effect arises, the government must seriously take action against companies/industries that dump their waste into rivers, make efficient and concrete breakthroughs in conducting surveillance such as (installing CCTV at every outlet and waste generation point, installing special monitoring devices waste of companies that can work for 24 hours), revoke environmental permits for companies that pollute;
  6. Encouraging companies/industry to comply with environmental regulations, the EPR (company responsibility) efforts of producers producing plastic waste must be maximized immediately so that no more plastic waste leaks into rivers;



30 December 2022

Muhammad Kholid Basyaiban, S.H – (082141870654)


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