Fidelis E. Satriastanti
As polluted and flood-prone as it is, Jakarta’s Ciliwung River will once again become a place of interest to residents and visitors if activists from the Green Map Jakarta community have their way.
Nirwono Joga, the coordinator of the nongovernmental organization, said on Sunday that the community was working on a map that would identify places along the banks of the river to create a picture of life along the city’s longest waterway.
“If you think of the Ciliwung River, it’s become a trademark for Jakarta,” Nirwono said. “There are lots of settlements that have been built along its banks, so we’re going to try to put in a map what life is like for the people living there.”
He added that although city authorities were also currently carrying out a survey of the condition of the river, the Green Map project would be a “bottom-up” endeavor to raise residents’ awareness about the condition of the river and the people living around it.
“That means that the information for the map will come from the people themselves, those who best know the area and their needs,” he said.
The map was needed, he said, because Jakartans were not aware of the city around them.
“They usually just commute from home to office and back. That’s their routine,” Nirwono said.
He said he hoped that the project, which uses the slogan “Tak Kenal Maka Tak Sayang” (“Unknown, Therefore Unloved”), would inspire others to create similar maps of their own communities. “It’s not that difficult, really. Anyone can do it,” he said. “In Japan, elementary school students draw up their own green maps.”
The Green Map, conceived in 1995, is a mapmaking system that charts the ecological, social and cultural resources of a particular area.
The system maps not only natural and cultural resources, but also business practices that are environmentally sustainable and organizations that promote green living.
Green Map Jakarta released its first green map in 2001 of the Kemang area in South Jakarta and has since issued maps with sustainable transport-friendly sites and open green spaces. It has also come out with a map of Jakarta’s lakes and reservoirs.
Nirwono said that the maps were subject to change to reflect developments in the city.
“For instance, we released the transportation map in 2009, when there were 10 busway routes,” he said. “When the city adds more, we’ll have to update the map.”
Freddy Januar, a resident of Bekasi, said he was interested in drawing up similar maps.
“I know Jakarta obviously has a lot of problems, such as pollution and traffic, but when I see the green maps that have been made, I’m curious to apply the principle in Bekasi,” he said.
“Because conditions in Bekasi are actually worse than in Jakarta.”