The Jakarta Globe, January 05, 2013
The attractive running tracks that line some of South Korea’s rivers could soon be replicated in Jakarta as the city’s administration seeks to tap into the North Asian country’s expertise.
Governor Joko Widodo said that Jakarta and Seoul have signed cooperation agreements for the restoration of the Ciliwung River and a transportation project.
“We have discussed the restoration of the Ciliwung River but we want to make a pilot project first, from the Istiqlal Mosque to Pasar Baru,” Joko said on Friday, after meeting with Kim Yeong-seon, South Korea’s ambassador to Indonesia.
“We want to concentrate on that first. If it goes well and the public’s response is good, we will continue with a bigger project.”
Joko said that he has seen the rivers in South Korea, and said they were very clean and provided a good place for residents to interact.
“From what I saw in Korea, the rivers in the heart of the city were all clean. I’ve seen them myself,” he said.
“At night, the rivers are good for walks. The banks of the big rivers are covered with woods to serve as jogging tracks. So, why not do the same here?”
The Han River, which runs through Seoul, has been voted by local residents and planning experts as the city’s most scenic spot.
Joko and Kim also discussed public transportation, “especially the commuter line from Jakarta to Depok or from other places around Jakarta,” Joko specified.
“I told him that we shouldn’t talk too much about it but we should just immediately carry it out because this is in the interests of many people.”
Joko said he expected the cooperation to commence in April once all reviews have been completed.
Kim said that cooperation between the city administrations in Jakarta and Seoul will be carried out in several stages.
“[On Friday] we discussed the agenda for the cooperation between the Jakarta city administration and the Seoul administration, from the government level to the public level,” Kim said.
He added that he was confident that under Joko’s leadership, Jakarta could transform into a global city, “and for that reason, we are ready to become a partner with Joko,” he said.
The Indonesian company that provided the dredging technology used to clean up the Bengawan Solo River is offering the same service to the Jakarta administration as it prepares to launch a long-awaited program to dredge the Ciliwung River this year.
Representatives from the firm Bio Energy Legacy met with Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama at City Hall on Thursday to discuss their technology.
Adilwan, a spokesman for the company, said that Basuki had responded favorably to the presentation and expressed an urgent need for the kind of technology that the company was offering.
He claimed that Bio Energy’s dredging equipment was “cheaper, faster and more modern” than conventional equipment. The company was previously involved in dredging the Bengawan Solo River that runs through Central and East Java, as well as the Brantas River in East Java.
Adilwan declined to say how much it would cost to clean up the Ciliwung, but said the company was hopeful about the prospect of a strong partnership with the city administration.
The restoration of the Ciliwung’s flow, which has been long constricted by sedimentation and illegal riverbank settlements, is a key part of the city administration’s long-term plan to overcome the city’s flooding problem.
“The sedimentation problem affects all the rivers, not just the Ciliwung or Angke,” Joko said last week. “That’s why they have to be dredged, maybe as deep as two meters.”
Joko also stressed the importance of raising public awareness about the hazards of throwing trash into the rivers.