Kodam III Siliwangi Cleansed Citarum River With Aquatec Catamaran
Citarum river flows from the upstream in Gunung Wayang, south of Bandung city, towards the north, and ended at Java Sea. The world citarum is made of two words; Ci, which means river or water, and Tarum which is a name of a plant that produces indigo. From those two origin words, it is concluded that long ago there were many indigo plants along Citarum river. Citarum river is the longest and largest river in all Pasundan, West Java Province, and has been playing an important role in the lives of the people around it.
Citarum River supplies water which sustains the lives of millions. The livelihood of the people depends on this river. It is used as drinking water source by the people of Jakarta, Bekasi, Karawang, Purwakarta, and Bandung. From upstream to downstream, the utilization of Citarum river varies from fulfilling household needs, irrigation, agriculture, farming and industrial. Due to the huge amount of water debit from Citarum River, three dams were build as Hydroelectric Power Plant (PLTA); PLTA Saguling at the upstream DAS Citarum region, PLTA Cirata at the center region, and PLTA Jatiluhur at the downstream region, which can generate 1,400 MW electrical power.
Currently, Citarum River is experiencing critical condition. The water flowing in this river is contaminated by waste water, the most dangerous one being industrial toxic and dangerous chemical waste. Currently in Citarum upstream region, there are 500 factories and only 20% of them are doing proper waste management, while the rest irresponsibly dump their wastes directly to the creeks or to Citarum river without getting supervision and prosecution from the government.
Aside from contamination by industrial waste, rapid deforestation occurring in the upstream region and the Citarum creeks has greatly reduced water absorbance. As a result, rainwater flowed right into the streams the moment it touches the ground. This causes upstream muds to get eroded by water and becomes sediments at the bottom of the stream, resulting in siltation of the river. Because of all this, when water debit is high, the lowlands in several places get flooded by the overflow from the river. Such floods ruins the people’s economic wheels.
Since 2007, Citarum river, which has historical, economical, and social values, has become one of the most polluted rivers in the world. The surroundings of Citarum river has greatly changed. Rapid industrialization around this river has filled it with factory wastes. Each rainy season, south Bandung area along Citarum is always flooded. After the great flood that took place in 1986, the government initiated Citarum river normalization project by deepening and widening the river, and even straightening the river flow. However, the project result became in vain because there was no change of behavior in the people residing along the river. The river continued to be a dumping place for garbage and even factory wastes.
The current Citarum river condition depicts the terrible water surface management in Indonesia. Although the water surface sources in Indonesia account for 6% of all water surface sources in the world, and 21% of total water surface sources in Asia Pacific, clean water problem still haunts the people of Indonesia. The challenges to gain access to clean water have caused Indonesian people to consume unclean and contaminated water. Such condition causes many to suffer diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, and many other diseases caused by consumption of unclean and unsafe water. Such diseases could even result in death.
Since there has been no improvement of Citarum river condition until now, the central government is now ready to get involved in saving Citarum. At the peak of the 51st anniversary of Angkatan Muda Siliwangi (AMS) in Merdeka building, Asia Afrika Street, Bandung City on Thursday (28/12/2017), the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, in his foreword stated that Citarum river needs special and comprehensive attention from the government. Based on that, Jokowi ordered all governmental levels to immediately start a comprehensive Citarum river revitalization, upstream to downstream, and even the creeks, especially the ones exposed to factory wastes.
To support this program by the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, Pangdam III Siliwangi TNI Major General Doni Monardo proposed the program “Citarum Harum”. This program gained popular support. Such support is proven by PT. Gani Arta Dwitunggal (Aquatec) as a manufacturer of marine, fishery, and tourism facilities, by providing two Catamaran boats, each costing IDR 135,000,000.
The symbolic boat handover took place in Makodam III Siliwangi Field, Aceh Street, Bandung City, on Friday (26/1/2018). Pangdam III Siliwangi TNI Major General Doni Monardo said that these two Catamaran boat units with two hull configurations dominated with yellow color with stainless steel top will be used by the soldiers of Kodam III Siliwangi to clean trash along Citarum River.
“These two Catamaran units are highly suitable to be used in rivers, lakes, and dams. They can collect trash. These boats will lighten the burden of the personnel assigned to clean Citarum River,” Doni said. Doni said, these boats prove that Indonesian companies can and is able to offer technological contribution for the Indonesian waters and marine.
The General Manager of PT. Gani Arta Dwitunggal, Andi J. Sunadim, said that these Catamaran boats each has 1.5 to 2-ton capacity. The boat with two hulls on its left and right is made from high density polyethylene (HDPE) material, which is a thermoplastic polyethylene made from crude oil. The raw materials for this boat are mainly local, with only the stainless steel is imported from Taiwan.
“This HDPE material is an environmentally friendly plastic which is recyclable at fast rate. This material has long-lasting durability up to 25 years and is also impact resistant. HDPE does not contain carcinogens. Environmentally friendly. At the end of its lifetime, it is recyclable at high rate,” Andi said.
This Catamaran boat has been subjected to trial in Ambon. However, to collect trash, those two Catamaran boat units are still done manually. These boats rely on nets attached to the front to trawl floating trash in Citarum River. But to lift the trash onboard the boat, they still use manual techniques. “If there are trash on the sides of the boat, it will be picked up using this net,” Andi said while referring to a net wrapped to the metal.
In the future, PT Gani Arta Dwitunggal will further develop the technology of this trash carrier boat. “We will modify it to pick up trash automatically. This boat is specifically made for Kodam III Siliwangi,” he said. The General Manager of PT Gani Arta Dwitunggal deems river preservation to be crucial because it is directly related to human life sustainability. The plan is, on Saturday (27/1/2018), the Catamaran boats donated to Kodam III Siliwangi will be dispatched to Citarum River right away.
With the government’s decision to revitalize Citarum river, it is expected that Citarum will soon be contamination-free. This step taken by the government surely must be supported by a change in a culture of self-discipline of the people residing in the area. They need to stop dumping trash and wastes to the river. This way, the Citarum River which serves as the national strategic river will truly be HARUM (fragrant).