Mr. Supardi: “Build Back Better from Flooding through Waste Bank”

Mr. Supardi still remembers when he had an out of town trip at the end of January 2021 and received a call from village about flooding. The call shocked him, “It was uncommon disaster in Songbanyu since the last few years.” When he arrived, He saw how flash flood had damaged bridges, farmland, houses, and inundated residents’ settlements. This incident is an unprecedented event considering the characteristics of the karst mountain area which has a fast drainage capacity. Later, Mr. Supardi and his team discovered that many “luweng” or natural cavities in the karst rocks were clogged so that the drainage function did not work well. One of the blockages is a pile of domestic waste.


Songbanyu Village is the farthest village from the Gunungkidul District government centre in Wonosari. This remote condition causes Songbanyu Village to receive less district government programs including waste management education and limited waste management facilities as well. This condition is a factor that brings lack of waste management in Songbanyu. Many people are still used to litter and burn the garbage.


The problem of waste management and derivative impacts caused by climate change emerged and became a priority issue in the FGD of the Village Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan. Coupled with the momentum of flood events that correlated with waste management, the urgency of waste management is increasing. Realizing this, Mr. Supardi was moved to act. The question is, how can the waste problem in Songbanyu be overcome?


Mr. Supardi is a resident of Songbanyu Villages. He was previously trusted by the villagers to be the Head of the Village Disaster Preparedness Group. Because of his dedication, he was again trusted to sit as the head of the working group for the inclusive climate change adaptation program. Nevertheless, changing the perspective and behaviour of residents in managing waste is not an easy matter as Mr. Supardi said, “At the first time, many people were doubting waste bank approach”. Moreover Mr. Supardi said, “there is an image in community that the word ‘bank’ always refers to ‘much money’.”  However, the habit of littering and burning garbage that have been behaviours for years has now turned into sorting garbage and saving garbage. During the last 5 months or so, as many as 250 community members in 4 hamlets who previously did not manage waste properly have now managed waste through the Waste Bank.


This rapid change was very much influenced from the role of Mr. Supardi. Along with Bintari Field Officer for the Inclusive Climate Change Adaptation program, Mr. Supardi tirelessly educates and assists residents to change for the better in managing waste. His action is also supported by Village officials who directly educate community or are actively involved as administrators of the Waste Bank.


After the initial education by the Bintari waste management facilitator was carried out at the Village level in October 2020, Mr. Supardi followed up the education at the hamlet (Dukuh) level. Dukuh Songbanyu 1 was the first hamlet to receive education in December 2020, followed by the establishment of Songbanyu 1 Waste Bank Unit. Furthermore, post flood the continuous education and waste bank unit establishment was conducted in four other hamlets were increased rapidly. Dukuh Bandung, Gabugan 1, Gabugan 2 and Salam 1 were following the steps of Dukuh Songbanyu 1 to form a Waste Bank unit and carry out waste management better.

In March 2021 Mr. Supardi assisted the Songbanyu 1 Waste Bank Unit making the first waste savings deposit. The time of almost 3 months provided an opportunity for residents to sort and collect waste to achieve an adequate volume. The type of waste collected as it has economic value is inorganic waste including PET bottles, cardboard, glass bottles and plastic bags. The volume and price of the waste deposit are recorded as savings for each resident as customer of the Waste Bank. This savings is managed by the management and can be withdrawn at any time by the customer.


This achievement does not necessarily make Mr. Supardi satisfied. He plans to enlarge the range of waste bank, as he excitedly shares, “Last week, waste bank workshops have been conducted in two other hamlets”. Furthermore, “other left hamlets also have asked for the education workshop, however this activity had to be postponed due to the lockdown“, he said. His hard work is based on his motivation to make the Songbanyu Village as a village that cares about the environment, as he envisions, “Good waste bank management will be able to overcome waste problems which are increasingly worrying day by day. In terms of health, it will be able to overcome the negative impact of waste from the economic side, it will be able to support a small part of the material needs from the sale of household waste.”


This positive development received a positive response from the community and the village government. Mr Supardi even surprised that many villagers, who previously did not care about waste, now want to be the administrator of waste bank management.


The Waste Bank is a model of climate change adaptation action that has multiple benefits. Waste that is separated and collected properly prevents inundation due to blockage of the “luweng” which is the natural drainage system of the karst mountains. A village environment that is clean of domestic waste will improve from an aesthetic point of view while preventing the spread of disease vectors due to waste. The economic value of waste obtained by the community becomes an economic contributor that was previously not considered. The result of this condition is the resilience of the village community itself.


The development of the Waste Bank is one of the climate resilience actions implemented by the “Improved adaptation capacities of at-risk coastal communities in Indonesia and the Philippines through inclusive community-based actions and learnings” program, a collaboration among ACCORD Inc, ASB Indonesia and the Philippines, and Bintari Foundation, and with funding support from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. This program aims to reach 18.420 communities member as 6 climate-resilience communities in Indonesia. This activity is also one of the mandatory programs of the national government to build a “climate village” which is a program to build village resilience to the impacts of climate change. However, a good concept and practices cannot be implemented properly without strong local leadership. Mr. Supardi has proven his strong leadership capacity through his actions.

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