After video of 2 men tossing garbage into river goes viral, police order them to clean up their mess

Whether it be due to a lack of education about the environment, a lack of waste removal infrastructure, plain old laziness or some combination of all three, there is no denying that many Indonesians don’t see any problem with tossing their garbage into rivers.

A video of two Indonesian men casually tossing a truck’s worth of trash off a bridge into the waterway below recently went viral in Indonesia, with many netizens infuriated by their thoughtless littering. But, at least in this one instance, the polluters were forced to face poetic justice.

Video of the incident, which took place in the Temanggung Regency of Central Java, was posted last Wednesday by Facebook user Kang Ery and has been shared over 4,000 times.

The video begins with a woman, identified as Central Java Regional Representative Council (DPD) member Denty Eka Pratiwi, getting out of the car to confront the two men who are tossing bags full of rotting vegetable waste into the Pandasi river in the middle of the afternoon.  The camera pans down to show that they are far from the only ones to have been using the river as a dumping ground and that the piled up trash was affecting the river’s flow.

Denty tells the men they are not allowed to do that and says that such waste should be deposited at a landfill. One of the men tosses another bag into the river even as Denty is scolding them.

If Denty seemed especially upset it’s probably because she just happened to be coming back from a meeting on waste management with the regency’s environmental department (DLH).

“We had just adjourned the meeting on the socialization of waste management. As soon as I saw the incident, I stopped and reprimanded him, but he did not respond and his tone kept rising. It was only when a DLH officer came down to talk to him that they fell silent and stopped,” Denty told Tribunnews, adding that there were specific local laws against littering that the men were violating.

However, after talking with the DLH official and police officers, it was decided that the men would not be criminally prosecuted and would instead have to help clean up the river that they had been using as their personal dumping grounds.

The video of their cleanup efforts, uploaded by Edie Poernomo two days later, is immensely satisfying to watch.

If only every person who littered in Indonesia’s rivers were forced to clean up their messes,  the country’s waterways would be in far better shape. But, hopefully, this viral video will help many more people get the message.

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