Jakarta city government’s decision to cover up the polluting and foul-smelling Sentiong River with a giant nylon net just hours before the Asian Games 2018 kick off has drawn a lot of criticism. The quadrennial event, which will be hosted in Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2, has been witnessing this acute issue pertaining to the river that meanders alongside the athletes’ village in Kemayoran located in central part of Jakarta. Earlier in July, the administration concerned had installed a 600/20 metre black mesh net over the river which is called ‘kali item’ or the black river by locals.
Rejecting all criticism, the Jakarta city government said that this was part of the river beautification plan, locals saw it as merely a plan to keep the problem hidden from visitors. They said the government’s move was only undertaken to keep the black water under a garb so that it is not directly visible to international athletes. The cost of the river beautification plan is around 580m rupiah (£30,000), according to reports.
Jakarta’s governor Anies Baswedan claimed that his administration has inherited the issue. Baswedan also listed the measures that his administration is taking such as “nanobubble” technology and pumping water from a dam in Bogor.
However, local residents did not seem too convinced. They alleged that the administration was merely interested in hiding the reality rather than finding an actual solution.
This year’s edition of the Asian Games is the 18th and it is for the first time that the two cities are co-hosting it.