Nov. 26 - The Indonesian city of Surabaya has taken composting to new levels in a so far successful effort to reduce its considerable garbage problem. With rubbish piling up all over the city, a composting program was launched more than ten years ago and today, the results speak for themselves. Tara Cleary reports.
Surabaya, Indonesia's second biggest city is composting on an industrial scale. Ten years ago, its garbage problem was overwhelming the city of 3 million. So officials introduced a radical plan to not only bypass overflowing landfills, but to green the city at the same time. With so much organic garbage to deal with, Parks and Sanitation Head, Hidayat Syah, says composting was the obvious solution. SOUNDBITE: HIDAYAT SYAH, HEAD OF SURABAYA PARK AND SANITATION DEPARTMENT, SAYING: "Initially we thought that the city government could handle it. We tried to manage city waste by building a composting center but people wanted to participate, so we built several small composting houses." After five years, fourteen composting centers had sprung up around the city, reducing the average daily amount of waste at Surabaya's largest landfill by about 30 percent. It's a simple solution. Organic waste is collected and brought to the sites for processing. The compost is then taken to city parks where it used instead of expensive chemical fertilizer. The money saved goes towards the salaries of compost house employees - mostly local residents - who now run 28 separate processing centres throughout Surabaya. SOUNDBITE: MOHAMMAD TOHA, WORKER AT COMPOSTING HOUSE, SAYING: "Here, we have 10 people working in the compost house. They were unemployed, now they have a job and can feed their children. It is also good for the environment, making it greener." The green revolution has taken off in Surabaya. Each day, the centres produce six tonnes of compost, and divert 80 tonnes of organic waste from city landfills. What began as an experiment has, for the city of Surabaya, sparked a new, greener way of life.