Yesterday, Jakarta Vice Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat announced a plan to reign in the capital’s rodent problem by rewarding citizens with Rp 20,000 for every rat they catch.
As many people quickly pointed out (including us) the problem with such a program is that it could lead to people actually breeding the pests they were designed to eliminate, as empirically proven by history.
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama did not dismiss his second in command’s plan, but acknowledged that it could be a problematic.
“If the program is done continuously, later people will start breeding and selling rats,” Ahok said, as quoted by Kompas.
Therefore Ahok suggested that the rat bounty program be a one-time thing to prevent long term rat raising.
Despite its potential for abuse, Ahok said he thought the plan was necessary since rats were a serious health problem in Jakarta, especially for young children.
The plan is for the collected mice to be turned into compost that would then be used by the Jakarta Parks Department.