National Waste Awareness Day in Indonesia Date in the current year: February 21, 2024

National Waste Awareness Day in Indonesia National Waste Awareness Day (Hari Peduli Sampah Nasional) is observed in Indonesia on February 21 every year. Its date was chosen to commemorate the 2005 Leuwigajah landfill disaster that resulted in the deaths of at least 143 people.

Developing countries across the world face a problem of increased waste caused by the accelerated material consumption and industrial development linked to economic growth, and Indonesia is not an exception. According to a 2012 report released by the country’s Ministry of Environment (now the Ministry of Environment and Forestry), the amount of solid waste generated in Indonesia was 625 million liters per day, or 2.5 liters per capita. A significant portion of this waste is not managed properly.

One of the biggest problems regarding waste management in Indonesia is the increasing amount of plastic waste. Indonesia produces over 3.2 million tonnes of unmanaged plastic waste every year, of which more than one third ends up in the ocean through illegal dumping and other activities. The resulting plastic debris have serious negative impacts on marine life, public health, and the livelihoods of people living in the coastal areas.

For the reasons cited above, the government of Indonesia has been working to bring together stakeholders to reduce the amount of waste produced in the country, as well as to ensure proper waste management and recycling. One of the solutions developed by a network of stakeholders is the Indonesian Waste Platform, a community-led waste management project that aims to reduce 70% of marine plastic waste in the country by 2040.

National Waste Awareness Day was established in 2006 to commemorate the Leuwigajah garbage landslide that killed at least 143 people (according to some sources, there were more than 150 victims). Prior to the incident, the Leuwigajah landfill served as the primary garbage disposal zone for Bandung and Cimahi. The cities sent so much garbage to the dumpsite that some of the piles were as high as 70 meters.

The piles had been already destabilized by scavengers and landfill employees, and two days of heavy rain loosened them even more. On February 21, 2005, one of the largest garbage mounds (200 meters wide and 60 meters high) collapsed and traveled south-southwest for more than a kilometer. The landslide was exacerbated by the sudden explosions of methane that had accumulated inside the garbage pile.

The landslide killed about 150 people and injured many more; most of the victims were scavengers or residents of the villages of Cireundeu and Gunung Lentik located near the landfill. It brought wide attention to the dangers of irresponsible waste management techniques.

The government of Indonesia designated February 21 as National Waste Awareness Day to commemorate the victims of the Leuwigajah landfill disaster and highlight the importance of responsible waste management and recycling. The day is marked by events and activities organized by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, various local, national and international environmental organizations, educational establishments, the business sector, community leaders, and other stakeholders.

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National Waste Awareness Day in Indonesia, observances in Indonesia, environmental observances, 2005 Leuwigajah landfill disaster