ciliwung river

Ciliwung River (Kali Ciliwung) is one of the main rivers in Java Island. Ciliwung River flows through the cities, such as Bogor, Depok, and Jakarta. Ciliwung River headwaters are in the plateau located in the Border of Bogor District and Cianjur regency, or precisely in Mount Gede, Mount Pangrango and Puncak area. After passing through the eastern part of Bogor city, this river flows north on the west side Jakarta-Bogor Road, Depok east side, and entered the Jakarta area as become the natural borders of East and South Jakarta. In Manggarai Area, the flows were manipulated to control the flooding. Original flow path through Cikini, Gondangdia, until Gambir, but after the Istiqlal water doors the path did not find again and became tha canals, such as in the west side of Gunung Sahari Road and Molenvliet Canal between Gajah Mada road and Veteran Road. Also in Manggarai, made West Flood Canal that leads to the west, then turn north to pass Tanah Abang, Tomang, Jembatan Lima, to Pluit.

Condition of Ciliwung River Long Time ago

Ciliwung used to a great river where the Europe Ships can passes through until some kilometers. According to records by Chinese seafarers, there had been a small village in Ciliwung River delta in 5th Century A.D. The area was a part of Holotan Kingdom, located in the area known as Bogor in present. Holotan Kingdom finally seized by Tarumanegara Kingdom in 452 A.D. In 1330, Pajaran Kingdom set up a stone tower in the western banks of Ciliwung River.

At 15th Century, at the mouth of Ciliwung River, Pajajaran Kingdoms build a harbor called Kalapa (also known as Sunda Kelapa). The harbor attracts many ships to rely on; the trades between the European ships were gathering here. Kalapa become a hectic harbor, and in 1522, first international treaty of West Java with Europeans was commemorated.

The Ciliwung River had varnished into a transportation river and connected with another river around. The growing of Ciliwung River also boomed the area; the harbor became a bone of the kingdom and the state authorities such as Portuguese, British, and Dutch. When Jan Pieter Soon Coon came with his colony and the colonialism started to flourish in Sunda Kelapa, the development of Ciliwung River was intensively done. Ciliwung River became one of mass transportation beside “trem” and horse train, although Sunda Kelapa harbor was destroyed in Dutch and British war. The small village in the mouth Ciliwung River become one of Java’s vital cities and named Batavia. Many important offices were built there.

Condition of Ciliwung River at Present

The development of Ciliwung River was continued until Indonesian Government took Batavia as capital city and changed its name into Jakarta. Ciliwung River supply fresh water to Jakarta’s civilization through PAM Jaya, or The Water Company. The boat still flow through Ciliwung River to distribute people’s deeds for some years. However, the development of Jakarta, Bogor, and Depok unfortunately changed Ciliwung River instantly. Unstable development that concentrated only in capital city impacts in high rate of urbanization, and land conversion in upstream of Ciliwung River become residents changed the ecosystem inside the river. Although some people still use Ciliwung River as transportation, there were no boats. It changed into a smaller type named getek, made by a tied of bamboos and drive by a man with no machine.

Ciliwung River became poorer and poorer year by year. The water become dark and smells bad. There are no fish there, it contains full of non-organic garbage. There were no land in side of Ciliwung River that not in use; even the bridge above it becomes a place to sells things. At the upstream, the land has changed into a common residential with only a few trees to control the ecosystem. At the downstream, the river become a canal that contains full of waste, garbage, trash even human shits. The water is full of toxic and one-hundred-percent unhealthy.

The Lifestyle of the People Live along Ciliwung River

Many semi-permanents house built side by side with river, as the impacts of urbanization. The two-storey house was made by wood or flat wood that called “triplek”. One haouse can be lived until five human. Even though they were lived in that house, some people still went home to their hometown, and if they want to search for more funds to feed their life, they will go back to Jakarta. People that lived not so far from Jakarta did this type of urbanization form, such as Ciawi, Tasikmalaya, Bandung, and Cimahi. Most of them were Sundanese.

However, there were no sanitary facility around them, and so they use Ciliwung River as a place to bathe, washing things, even flush. The drainage system even poorer and the waste are stuck rapidly, resulting in worse bad habit in the area. Some people even throw their garbage into the river, so the river gets dirty and poor. Even government has built public lavatory, they still use Ciliwung River as their lavatory. This habit affect the condition of Ciliwung ecosystem, and in general also affects clean water supply for the entire Jakarta’s population.

Environmental Degradation of Ciliwung River

For a long, long time ago, so many experts in environmental league have reported environmental degradation in Ciliwung to the government. The quality of the water has been much decreased since 1990s. Indonesia’s rivers are heavily polluted and becoming increasingly shallow as people living along the riverbanks dump their trash in them. Jakarta has 13 rivers flowing through it, including the Ciliwung River—a main water supply source, yet one of the most polluted.

Garbage of all types, including industrial effluents, empty plastic bottles, and cans can be seen floating around on the turbid waters of the Ciliwung. Often, the water taxi drivers have to rely on intuition and experience in navigating through the thick trash. There are also instances when garbage clogs a taxi’s engine forcing it to stall. Garbage also worsens flooding, which hits the city in January and February every year.

“We are facing an uphill battle in cleaning our rivers and we need a huge amount of money,” Azdan said, adding that people living on the riverbanks refuse to move because the relocation areas offered by the government are far from their workplace. Many, however, see it as a losing battle because of weak law enforcement. So far, no one has been brought to court, imprisoned, or even fined for littering.

Even water companies are finding it difficult to provide residents with enough clean water. In Jakarta, about 70 percent of potential raw water from rain flows directly into the ocean, since all the rivers in the city are shallow and have limited capacity to retain rainwater.

The Source of the Environmental Degradation

Jakarta’s water quality is suffering under the combined strain of domestic and industrial pollution. The backbone of the sanitation system is still an open ditch system that serves as a conduit for all wastewater. While this system may have been adequate for a city of less than half a million–the size of the city when the system was planned–it cannot cope with the wastes of the current 11.5 million residents. In 1989, an estimated 200,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day, largely untreated, was disposed of into the city’s waterways. Domestic wastewater is estimated to contribute 80 percent of surface water pollution, although industrial discharges are a growing concern. In some areas, groundwater is polluted with nitrates and microorganisms from domestic waste and toxics leached from industrial landfills.

Water pollution has impacts on both human health and aquatic life. Diarrhea is responsible for 20 percent of deaths for children under age 5 in Jakarta. Organic pollution has also contributed to the decline of coral reefs within Jakarta Bay. In the Angke estuary in Jakarta Bay, the mercury content in commercial fish species far exceeds World Health Organization guidelines for human consumption.

Jakarta’s aquifer is also suffering from overextraction and salinization. At least 30 percent of Jakarta’s population relies on the aquifer for water. Because the city lacks a system for registering and controlling water extraction, more water is withdrawn than is naturally recharged. Parts of the city have sunk 30 to 70 centimeters in the past 15 years due to land subsidence. Urban expansion into the water catchment areas southwest and southeast of Jakarta is further threatening the aquifer.

For Jakarta’s 1.4 million poor, however, the greatest environmental threats still occur at the household and neighborhood level. One recent survey found that in the poorest wealth quintile, 31 percent of households have neither a piped water connection nor access to a private well, compared with 12 percent for the city as a whole. In addition, the poorest households were less likely to have neighborhood waste collection and more likely to share toilets and have problems with flies both near the toilet and in food-handling areas.

Land Clearance or Land “Reclamation” is the first and perhaps the most irreversible form of environmental degradation. Once the bio-mass is stripped off, especially in the tropics, economic and social con sequences are severe and usually immediate. Loss of habitat can lead to the extinction of species and the disappearance of indigenous groups dependent upon forest resources for the survival of their culture and livelihood. Exposed soils, especially in the tropics, erode rapidly, and, in many cases, are subject to declining fertility and desertification; they also degrade the water quality of downstream communities, often contributing to flooding and silting of rivers and dams. Land clearance often extends to the coastal regions and into the sea itself. In Sri Lanka, for example, state sponsored development projects such as harbours and sea walls are reported to interfere with natural forces. Extensive damage has arisen from coral and sand mining and the exploitation of dugong for meat and turtles for meat and eggs, while coastal swamps have been destroyed for firewood by the local population.

The seriousness of the environmental degradation arising from land clearance can be seen from the fact that the developing countries already have lost approximately one half of their forests in this century. Worldwide, some 11 million hectares of tropical forests (moist and dry) were being cleared annually in the 1980’s. By -the 1990’s, satellite observations suggest that the annual clearance rate had risen to around 17-20 million hectares per year, of which about 2.0 million hectares were in Asia. 5 The total forest inventory of Asia and the Pacific area is about 800 million hectares. If present estimates are correct, the clearance rate is about 2.5% per year or 25% per decade.


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