Indonesia’s Traditional Markets to Get Overhaul Amid Safety Fears

By webadmin on 01:40 pm Jul 28, 2012
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Dessy Sagita

The government is looking to revamp its traditional markets, admitting that 95 percent are unhygienic and could contribute to the spread of diseases, including avian flu.

“According to a survey by the Trade Ministry in 2011, 95 percent of the 9,559 traditional markets in Indonesia are no longer worthy and over 25 years old,” Health Ministry director on health improvement Wilfried Purba said on Friday.

Wilfried said that this year the ministry has earmarked Rp 994 million ($105,000) to develop eight markets in Sumatra, West Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi and Papua that will later serve as models for other markets in the area.

The model markets will receive funding to revamp their drainage, waste disposal, bathrooms and other public facilities. Vendors will also receive training on hygiene and keeping the market in good condition. Next year, the ministry will channel Rp 1.5 billion to 10 markets.

Muhammad Anwar Achmad, head of facility management at the Trade Ministry, said the government aimed to make traditional markets tourist destinations, as is the case overseas. But to do that, the markets need a face lift. “Traditional markets [in Indonesia] are dirty, smelly, unsafe and uncomfortable,” he said.

Anwar said only 5 percent of the markets sit in buildings in good condition and have adequate facilities.

Wilfried said that with rats roaming traditional markets, people are also prone to diseases like diarrhea, acute respiratory infection, typhoid and leptospirosis.

Wooden chopping boards also help to spread diseases, as they are harder to clean than those made from plastic or metal. “Besides that, there are many puddles that are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which can cause dengue fever or malaria,” Wilfried said.