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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     4 November  2011

Indonesia wants to be cleaner
A cleaner Indonesia has long been a dream of the Indonesian government, but now steps are being taken with the launch of a national movement to improve cleanliness standards nationwide.

Vice President Boediono has asked all ministries and institutions to help prepare a Clean Indonesia action plan.

The action plan will be focused on six main objectives: transportation, cleaning up rivers in big cities, school hygiene, health facilities, wastewater and solid waste management in major cities and an overall change of mind-set.

“I asked for a more concrete plan, including involving state-owned enterprises with clear goals. Because this will be a national movement, everyone must help. It will be like people marching in step and will require close coordination,” Boediono said on Thursday.

The former governor of Bank Indonesia also specifically requested state-owned enterprises become involved in the Clean Indonesia movement because they are associated with almost all transportation facilities. Airports, for example, are managed by state-owned company Angkasa Pura, and cleanliness of railway facilities would involve Kerta Api Indonesia.

“I am requesting a follow-up meeting that also involves SOEs to set out detailed steps,” the vice president said.

Another major focus in the national Clean Indonesia movement is restoring the health of rivers in large cities. Minister of Public Works Djoko Kirmato said cleaning up Jakarta’s largest river, Ciliwung, would be the central focus of the river restoration program.

To support the cleanup, Djoko will coordinate with Faridz Djan, the minister of public housing.

Cooperation between the two ministries is expected to be necessary to tackle the problem of unauthorized dwellings on the banks of the Ciliwung. Faridz said that removing riverside dwellers would be a challenge because the residents had inhabited the banks of the Ciliwung for several years.

Even with the Ministry of Public Housing providing relocation sites for river dwellers, many are expected to be unwilling to move as they have livelihoods based on the river or enjoy living in a relatively central location that they could not otherwise afford.

Meanwhile, Boediono said it was time to improve the management of wastewater and solid waste in major cities, and that several cities would be selected for a number of trial waste management programs.

Minister of Industry M.S. Hidayat said small industries would be the major challenge for such programs. The reason being, he said, was that there were an estimated 2.5 million small industrial businesses operating throughout Indonesia, with the majority employing problematic waste management practices.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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