Litterbugs to be fined or imprisoned in Bandung

A woman walks past a pile of garbage in Bandung, West Java. -- PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
A woman walks past a pile of garbage in Bandung, West Java. -- PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Watch out litterbugs: Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil will impose fines for littering starting on Dec 1.

Litterbugs and cars that are not equipped with waste bins will be fined Rp 250,000 (S$27.50) and those caught breaking garbage bins or burning garbage in places at risk of fire will face fines of Rp 1 million.

Those who dump garbage in the river or gutter could be fined Rp 5 million.

"Singapore was clean in the 1970s, since it imposed fines for various [cleanliness] violations. We are forced to enter such an era in Bandung," Ridwan said.

Over the past nine years, Bylaw No. 11/2005 on public order, cleanliness and beauty and Bandung Mayoral Regulation No. 522/2007, which regulates the fines and guidelines, remained toothless as nobody got punished for illegal littering.

Now, however, the Public Order Agency will be responsible for enforcing the bylaw and residents can also file a report with the agency.

"The problem in Bandung is the people's mind-set. People are used to breaking the law," Ridwan said over the weekend.

Bandung Public Order Police Unit Enforcement Affairs head Teddy Wirakusumah said his men would be authorised to confiscate violators' identity cards until they settle the fines, which would go to the city's treasury.

Violators can also choose to settle the fines in a speedy trial for light offenses, which is locally called tipiring trial.

"Violators must settle fines for the misdemeanors to get their ID cards returned. If they fail to pay the fines, they can be imprisoned," Teddy said.

Earlier, Rahim Asyik Budi Santoso, a Bandung resident, reported the Bandung mayor to the West Java Ombudsman for being less eager to create cleanliness in Bandung.

After going through mediation, the administration agreed to improve waste management in Bandung by, among other things, enforcing the bylaw.

"In a larger scope, the government has the responsibility to provide infrastructure before we talk about law enforcement, public campaigning and education on cleanliness," said Rahim, adding that the fines would be useless if not followed by an effort by the people to change their habits.

Mega Dwi Anggraeni, 30, of Bandung, applauded the plan to enforce the bylaw, especially because it imposed heavy fines for dumping garbage in the river.

However, she could not accept the obligation to have a trash bin in a car.

"The most important is people's awareness," she said.

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