The story of the Bantar Gebang Scavengers Who Sell Garbage for the sake of Survival


PARBOABOA, Jakarta – Samudi (75) is seen sorting plastic waste that his son managed to collect from the Bantar Gebang Integrated Waste Disposal Site (TPST), Bekasi, Wednesday (24/5/2023).

The elderly man from Indramayu is one of around 6,000 scavengers who make a fortune in the mountains of Bantar Gebang TPST.

To Parboaboa, Samudi then told about himself becoming a scavenger and how he has survived in the last 30 years.

Samudi initially worked as a pedicab driver in Tanjung Priok for 18 years. But as the policy changed, the government finally banned the use of pedicabs.

“Becaks are banned by the government, we don’t have jobs, we have to dive into the trash,” he said.

Samudi started sorting plastic waste from early in the morning, around 07.00 until noon, at 14.00. He shares the chores with his son. He is part of sorting plastic waste, while his son is looking for the mountains of garbage. They collect bottles, cups and other plastic waste.

“So those who are looking for children, we clean them up. We separate them, bottles here, plastics here,” he said.

Samudi said, he could sell thirty large sacks of plastic waste to collectors.

For plastic waste per kilo, the price is IDR 400, while bottle waste is IDR 700 per kilo.

Samudi complained that the selling price of plastic waste often fluctuated erratically, depending on the collectors.

Nevertheless, he admits that the income from selling plastic waste is enough to support a wife and children, and to pay rent for a house of IDR 150,000 per month.

“It’s not getting more expensive, it’s getting down. But (the cost of) food is getting more and more expensive, it keeps going up, but this goes down to the confusion of the common people,” he complained.

The article is in Indonesian

Tags: story Bantar Gebang Scavengers Sell Garbage sake Survival


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