​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Saving in Waste for Future Generation

Indonesia​     English​


Collecting and selling garbage do not only help generate extra income for future needs, but also conserve carbon and preserve water quality, which are essential for human life. This practice has been adopted by the female students of Musthafawiyah Purba Baru Islamic Boarding School in Mandailing Natal District, North Sumatra Province.

As one of the oldest Islamic schools in Sumatra, housing over 11,000 students, the school certainly produces a great deal of waste, amounting to approximately two tons per day. As a result, trash has been piling up in the school’s backyard and along the riverbank flowing straight to Batang Gadis Watershed. More than 400,000 people, around 42,100 hectares of paddy fields and other crops, as well as 108,320 hectares of plantation crops depend on Batang Gadis Watershed for water, making it one of the 108 priority watersheds in Indonesia. Therefore, maintaining and keeping the water is paramount.​

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More than 400,000 people, around 42,100 hectares of paddy fields and other crops, as well as 108,320 hectares of plantation crops depend on Batang Gadis Watershed for water, making it one of the 108 priority watersheds in Indonesia. Therefore, maintaining and keeping the water is paramount.

As a solution to the garbage problem, Musthafawiyah established a waste bank called Jihadi, meaning "my struggle," on August 16, 2016. 500 female students registered as customers. Present at the launching were attendants from the Environment, Sanitation, and Landscape Agency (BLHKP), Local Development Planning Board of Mandailing Natal, Office of Batang Gadis National Park, Arta Jaya Association, Central Waste Bank of UD Berkat Sabar, and non-governmental organizations such as SRI and Forester. A ton of waste was collected and priced at IDR 1,100,000.

"The waste bank serves as a practical lesson in waste management for the school, as well as a form of our support for the Indonesia government's Free of Waste in 2020 program and a good way to secure the watershed," explained Hajjah Hannah Chaniago, Director of Jihadi Waste Bank.

Prior to the launching, Armawati Chaniago of Arta Jaya Association organized several activities to introduce the waste bank. Teachers were trained waste management, and students attended an awareness-raising activity to gain a better understanding waste bank benefits. The waste bank concept is similar to that of a regular commercial bank, with the only difference being the waste bank customers deposit their thrash [instead of money]. The deposited trash will be scaled and priced based on its type and weight. Every transaction made will be recorded in the customers' passbook.​

The female students showed deep awareness and great enthusiasm in support of the program implementation. Saadah, a member of the management board as well as a customer of the bank, said, "We are so pleased and grateful for this program in our school. Now, the waste bins are no longer overflowing with thrash, and no more stench and flies flying around the school area. We can also use the money earned from depositing waste to buy things like pashmina and pay our tuition fee."

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​​Currently, only the female students are registered as customers since passbooks and other supporting equipment are limited in number. However, the male students and teachers have also expressed a strong desire to join the program.

"The male students have started collecting garbage around the school as well. They even formed a group and reported the garbage they collected to teachers to be deposited at the bank. Likewise, the teachers cannot wait to sign up as customers," said Hannah.

On the other hand, the awareness about waste management is still low among the local community of Mandailing Natal District. Every day, the government collects and transports tens of tons of waste to be disposed of in landfills. The government, in this case BLHKP, really appreciates the waste bank in Musthafawiyah as a quick and effective solution to the garbage problem in this area. They acknowledged the way this school has changed public perception by showing how discarded waste can turn into something of value.

"We thank CI (red: Conservation International) for giving us guidance throughout the formation of this waste bank, and now we invite BLHKP to work together to follow-up the program. The agency will provide support in terms of the program's continuity and official establishment in accordance with the Government of Indonesian's regulations," said Abd Kholik, Head of Sanitation and Landscape of BLHKP of Mandailing Natal. Currently, BLHKP has been making efforts to intensify the implementation of waste management program through the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).

The Chief of BLHKP of Mandailing Natal, Ahmad Ansyari Nasution, added that this program had contributed to supporting the low-carbon development, preserving the watershed, and creating a better future.

(Hasby Hasbollah)