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25 Indonesian doctors die of COVID-19, medical association says

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The Indonesian Medical Association on Monday said at least 25 Indonesian doctors had died after contracting the new coronavirus, raising alarm about the toll the disease was taking on health workers.

According to the association’s spokesman, Halik Malik, at least 19 doctors and six dentists have succumbed to COVID-19.

Malik, however, said that no figures were available for casualties among other health workers, including nurses.

He urged the government to be transparent about the number of health workers affected by the virus.

“We need data that everyone can refer to and can be the basis for preventive strategies for health workers so we can focus on tackling COVID-19.

“If the number of positive cases among health workers continues to increase, health services will be disrupted, not to mention that they could transmit the disease to patients and their families,” he said.

According to the the Health Ministry, Indonesia had confirmed 218 new COVID-19 cases, its biggest daily rise, taking the national tally to 2,491. The death toll rose by 11 to 209.

However, Indonesian Government had been criticised so far for low rates of testing.

President Joko Widodo said on Monday that Indonesia was not among the ten countries hit hardest by the virus.

“This should be conveyed to the public that Indonesia is not alone in facing this epidemic, to put things in perspective” he said.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Ejike Obeta
(NAN)

Yahaya Isah: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

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Indonesian police arrest 2 foreigners in drug bust in Banten province

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Indonesian authorities have arrested a Pakistani and a Yemeni in a drug bust in the province of Banten.

At a press conference in Banten’s city of Serang on Saturday, the National Police’s criminal investigation department chief, Listyo Sigit Prabowo, said that the police arrested the suspects on Friday evening when the suspects were trying to move about 820 kg of methamphetamine to boxes.

The contraband smuggled from Iran was hidden at a house in a residential area in Serang, Prabowo said, adding that the bandits pretended to be spice traders.

He said the investigation into the case has been underway since last December.

Prabowo said the police received information about groups of drug traffickers who were set to make some transactions on Friday.

“Last night, the two targets were moving the methamphetamine to boxes they had prepared. The team raided them,” Prabowo was quoted by Indonesian news website Detik.com as saying.

The suspects may face death penalty in Indonesia if they are proven guilty.

(XINHUA)

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Indonesian Muslims line up with social distancing to get free food for Iftar

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Indonesian Muslims line up with social distancing to get free food for Iftar, or fast-breaking meal, amid coronavirus pandemic during the holy month of Ramadan in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 22, 2020. (Photo by Zulkarnain/Xinhua)

(XINHUA)

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Covid-19 isolation forces Indonesians to abandon contraceptives

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An Indonesian official on Thursday said restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus had forced 10 per cent of couples in Indonesia to abandon contraception.
According to the Head of the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN), Hasto Wardoyo, lack of access to contraceptives could result to 420,000 pregnancies during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government estimates that three million couples stopped using contraceptives between March and April and 15 per cent of them could end up being pregnant.
“With an additional 420,000 births next year, population growth in Indonesia could surge dramatically. If you plan to get pregnant, now is not the right time,” Wardoyo said.
According to government data nearly five million babies are born every year, and some 28 million couples used contraceptives in 2019.
Health officials in Tasikmalaya, a district in West Java, reported that the pregnancy rate doubled in the January-March period compared to 2019.
Indonesia recorded 973 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the largest single-day rise so far, taking the national tally to 20,162.
The death toll rose to 1,278, after 36 additional deaths were recorded overnight.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Indonesian capital extends again partial lockdown as cases leap

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The Indonesian capital of Jakarta, which is hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, on Tuesday decided to prolong a large-scale social restriction as the number of virus infections spikes in the country.

Jakarta’s governor Anies Baswedan announced that the partial lockdown is extended for another 14 days until June 4.

The governor of the city urged the citizens to obey the rules on the restriction to rein the virus spread in the capital of over 10 million people.

“This would be the last extension of the partial lockdown if we obey disciplinary rules,” he said at an online press conference.

The virus has infected 6,155 people in Jakarta with 1,329 others recovering, both figures are the biggest in the country, the health ministry announced on Tuesday, adding that a total of 487 citizens have died from COVID-19 in Jakarta.

The capital city of Jakarta first imposed the partial lockdown from April 10 to April 23, and extended it until May 22.

The COVID-19 spread has accelerated again across Indonesia since days ago with the daily record on the cases ranging from 400 to 500, rising from the level of 200 to 300 per day.

The growing cases has led President Joko Widodo to quash easing partial lockdowns across the country, citing that the decision on the matter would rely much on the improvement of data on the infected persons and casualties.

On Tuesday, the health ministry reported 486 new infection cases of the virus across Indonesia, bringing the total to 18,496 with 1,221 casualties. Enidtem

(XINHUA)

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Indonesian central bank keeps rate unchanged to guard rupiah

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The Indonesian central bank on Tuesday held its key rate steady, albeit the economy is stretching deep and inflation is benign, as it aims to safeguard rupiah amid the global economic fallout caused by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The rate-setting meeting of the Indonesian central bank, Bank Indonesia, held the seven-day repurchase rate at 4.5 percent, despite high pressure for loosening policy, Governor of Bank Indonesia Perry Warjiyo said.

“This decision is made on the back of the necessity for maintaining the rupiah stability amid the global uncertainty,” Warjiyo remarked.

“Bank Indonesia sees rooms for loosening policy as inflation is low, and the need of accelerating the economic growth,” he cited.

According to Warjiyo, Bank Indonesia preferred to use other instruments to shore up the economy which has been stretching deep, saying that liquidity injection is more effective.

The lender has set aside 508 trillion rupiah (some 34.27 billion U.S. dollars) stimulus on the economy and is ready with other capital injections when needed, he said.

Bank Indonesia has twice trimmed its key rate by 50 basis points this year.

Indonesia’s economic growth tumbled to 2.97 percent in the first quarter and for the whole of this year it is estimated to plunge to 2.3 percent from 5.02 percent last year.

The stay-at-home call amid the physical distancing rules has been keeping millions of people cooped up for weeks and ravaging economic activities.

(XINHUA)

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Indonesian officials vow to ensure sufficient food supply amid COVID-19 outbreak

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A worker sorts packages of food for needy families at a warehouse in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 18, 2020. Indonesian officials have vowed to ensure sufficient food supply for people countrywide amid the COVID-19 outbreak and the ongoing dry season. (Photo by Zulkarnain/Xinhua)

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Indonesian president rules out easing Covid-19 restrictions soon

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday said that the government would not ease restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus any time soon.

“There’s no plan to loosen PSBB (large scale social restriction)] soon,’’ Joko told a cabinet meeting.

“It is mistaken to think that that the measures have been eased.’’

Speculation that the government is taking steps towards reopening the economy emerged last week after the head of the country’s Covid-19 task force said residents aged 45 and under could be allowed to return to work.

Traffic in the capital, Jakarta, has also been busier in recent days ahead of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim festival marking the end of the Ramadan holy month.

Large parts of the country have been under partial lockdown since the first Covid-19 cases were reported in early March.

Experts warned that it is too early to reopen, saying that the curve has yet to flatten.

“Letting people go to work with the assumption that they are not likely to die based on hospital data is bad policy,’’ said Pandu Riono, an epidemiologist at the University of Indonesia.

“They naively ignore the fact that asymptomatic people have infected other people and potentially become active spreaders,’’ he said.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Indonesia rose to 18,010 on Monday, after 496 new infections were recorded in the past 24 hours, said Achmad Yurianto, the task force’s spokesperson.

Forty-three additional deaths recorded overnight brought the number of fatalities to 1,191, he said. 

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)

 

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Indonesians act to feed poor as lockdown hits daily wage earners

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Alarmed by how the coronavirus pandemic has left many Indonesians destitute, a group of volunteers is providing free meals to vulnerable daily wage earners in their neighbourhoods, ranging from rickshaw drivers to trash collectors.

Millions of Indonesians have been thrown into poverty in recent months and are struggling to make ends meet in a country that has recorded more than 1,100 deaths from COVID-19.

The death toll is the highest in East Asia outside China from the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

“This is the time for us to act,” said 19-year-old Sherina Redjo, one of the 15 university students behind the initiative.

The volunteers jump on their motorbikes to distribute free food packages around four times a week for the fast breaking time during Ramadan in Depok, a satellite town on the outskirts of the capital Jakarta.

While conceding their efforts may only scratch the surface of the problem, Redjo says no matter how small it is “it will certainly help them.”

The group estimates it has handed out more than 660 meals since it started in the middle of March.

The coronavirus outbreak has cost some two million people their jobs in just six weeks, the country’s finance minister said in early May, adding that the country’s efforts to eradicate poverty had been set back by a decade.

The volunteers collect donations on social media to pay for the food, and on a good day they can raise enough money to produce 50 packs of boxed food.

The beneficiaries are mostly daily wage earners, such as rickshaw drivers, delivery workers and garbage collectors, whose livelihoods are hit the hardest by the outbreak.

“I thank them so much for giving me this package and I pray for their generosity,” said Bambang, a cycle rickshaw driver who uses only one name.

The aim of the volunteers is to make sure these people have some food before they go to sleep.

“We are focusing on providing dinner so that at least they can sleep with their bellies full.

“I joined because I feel pity and sympathy for many of my friends whose parents’ income was disrupted because of this pandemic and also for those people on the street whose life depends on daily wages,” said Luqmanul Hakim Yullyadi, 19, the group’s designated cook.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Indonesian Red Cross vehicle sprays disinfectant to prevent COVID-19 in Jakarta

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An Indonesian Red Cross vehicle sprays disinfectant to prevent COVID-19 in a street in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 15, 2020. (Photo by Zulkarnain/Xinhua)

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Seven people die in oil tanker fire at Indonesian port

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The North Sumatra police have identified the seven people who died in a fire accident on the Jag Leela oil tanker at the port of Belawan in Indonesia’s province of North Sumatra on Monday morning.

They were trapped inside the ship which was under repair.

“We will send the bodies to their families tonight,” the North Sumatra Police’s spokesperson Tatan Atmaja said at a police hospital in the province’s capital of Medan on Tuesday night, as quoted by state news agency Antara.

At least 22 people are still treated at local hospitals after suffering burns in the accident that occurred on a crude oil tanker docked at Waruna Shipyard at the port.

(XINHUA)

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Fire breaks out on oil tanker at Indonesian port, several missing

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A fire broke out on a crude oil tanker docked at Waruna Shipyard at the Port of Belawan in Indonesia’s province of North Sumatra Monday morning, and several workers have been reportedly rushed to hospitals after suffering burns in the accident.

The number of workers is still missing, and they were reportedly trapped inside the ship which is under repair.

At least six fire engines and three tugboats with water cannons were deployed to put out the fire.

The boat was built in 1999 and owned by Indonesian shipbuilding company PT Waruna Nusa Sentana.

(XINHUA)

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Indonesian homecoming exodus blocked due to COVID-19

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The holy month of Ramadan and the celebration of Islamic post-fasting festivity Eid-al-Fitr have been associated with a homecoming tradition locally known as “mudik” for most of the Indonesian people.

Last year, the Ministry of Transportation noted the number of home comers who were involved in an annual exodus to their hometowns across the country reached around 20 million people.

This year despite the current imposition of the government’s ban on homecoming exodus as an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the number of people returning to their hometowns is predicted to reach about 3 million.

The number is considered still high as the pandemic in Indonesia is predicted to peak in June.

At a meeting with Vice President Ma’ruf Amin and other government officials on April 21, Indonesian President Joko Widodo stated that he did not want to risk the wider spread of the COVID-19.

Therefore, the head of state also asked his staff members to prepare technical regulations related to the ban on homecoming.

Earlier, the president has decided to forbid all the people including employees of the government offices and state-owned enterprises, as well as the military and police personnel from returning to their hometowns during the month of Ramadan until the Eid-al-Fitr which will fall on May 23 this year.

Since “mudik” has long been a traditional culture in Indonesia, prohibiting people from exercising the event is not easy.

A survey by the Ministry of Transportation indicated 24 percent of people insist on going to their hometowns.

This figure according to the president is still big, forcing him to forbid people from going home.

In order to restrict the mobility of people, especially to implement the homecoming prohibition effectively, the government will transiently ban all domestic air, sea and land travels until June this year, commencing on Friday (April 24) – which coincides with the first date of holy Ramadan — as an effort to curb the further spread of the COVID-19 , the Transportation Ministry said.

However, cargo travels and other modes of transportation in support of efforts to cushion risks of the COVID-19 pandemic are exempted from the ban, the ministry’s Director General for Aviation Novie Riyanto Rahardjo said.

According to him, the transportations for top officials of state institutions, state guests, representatives of foreign nations, international organizations, repatriations of Indonesian citizens from abroad or return of foreign nationals to their countries are also excluded from the ban.

The ministry’s spokesperson Adita Irawati noted that the ban on the air journeys will be effective till June 1, the sea transports till June 8, railway trips till June 15 and other means of land modes till May 31.

For those who insist on coming home should watch the two sanctions to be imposed by the authorities.

The imposition of the sanction is divided based on the time period, namely, on April 24 to May 7 and May 7 to May 31.

However, nearly 5,000 vehicles carrying people have been stopped by police personnel and ordered them to turn back to their original cities including the capital of Jakarta from which they started departures, Chief of the National Police’s Traffic Corps General Istiono said on Sunday.

Again, the police urged people to avoid exodus to hometowns during the Islamic holy fasting month of Ramadhan which will be ended with the post-fasting festivity Eid al-Fitr on May 24, he said.

“We ask travelers for not spreading the COVID-19 virus to other places,” the general remarked on a text message.

Irawati also pointed out that at the early stages of the sanction, the government will conduct persuasive approaches for violators of the homecoming ban. At this period travelers who are caught by the authorities will be asked to return to their original places where they start their trips.

On May 7 to May 31 or violators will be subject to sanctions in accordance with applicable laws, including fines up to Rp100 million.

The Indonesian government on Sunday announced 275 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in the archipelagic country to 8,882.
(XINHUA)

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Feature: Indonesians to skip family bonding time in Eid al-Fitr amid COVID-19 outbreak

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Waljinah, a 56-year-old Indonesian woman, did not go back to her hometown in Central Java’s Klaten, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan this year following the government’s prohibition of the exodus tradition, locally known as “mudik,” to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Waljinah, who like many Indonesians goes by a single name, has been living in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta with her 60-year-old husband for more than 20 years.

The Muslim couple, working as street vendors, usually return to their hometown to celebrate Eid al-Fitr – the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan – with their two children and three grandchildren.

This year’s Ramadan in Indonesia began since Thursday evening and will end on May 23.

“I’m wondering what it would be like to celebrate Eid al-Fitr without my grandchildren. The moment would be so different,” said Waljinah, sitting alone on a street at the Palmerah market in West Jakarta on Thursday selling vegetables.

Another migrant in the capital, Ridwan Ghani, will also not return to his hometown in Sumedang, West Java, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ghani, who has worked as a driver for ride-hailing service provider Go-Jek for more than three years, had planned to celebrate the holy day with his family.

“I just got married earlier this year and planned to introduce my wife to my family and relatives in my village. It’s very unfortunate as this won’t happen,” said the 27-year-old man.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Tuesday announced the prohibition of “mudik” to curb the spread of COVID-19, about two weeks after his administration issued regulations prohibiting civil servants, military and police personnel from returning to their hometowns.

A decree issued by the Transportation Ministry stated that people who are found violating the ban will face punishment that orders them to return to the point of departure or to pay fines.

The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia with a population totaling around 260 million surpassed 8,000 on Friday. Meanwhile, the total number of fatalities rose to 689, the highest in Southeast Asia.

Its capital city of Jakarta, home to some 10 million people, suffers the highest toll with 326 deaths, followed by West Java 77, East Java 67, Central Java 54 and the rest recorded in other regions.

Authorities have been conducting rapid tests in areas where cases were detected.

Having agreed with the “mudik” ban, both Waljinah and Ghani expressed hopes that the government would consistently provide social and financial aid to informal workers and other marginalized communities during the pandemic.

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Indonesia, China help each other fight COVID-19 outbreak: Indonesian FM

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Indonesia and China have helped each other address the challenges posed by the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Thursday.

Retno said at a virtual press conference that Indonesia and China have been cooperating since the outbreak of COVID-19 to fight the pandemic. “China has assisted Indonesia in the evacuation of Indonesian citizens from Wuhan in February, and at that time Indonesia has also extended medical supplies to China.”

“Now we received assistance from China, among them are the provision of test kits, personal protective equipments (PPEs), ventilators and others,” she said.

“In short, we help each other address the humanity challenges. Without this kind of cooperation, it will be more difficult for all of us to fight against the virus,” the country’s top diplomat said.

Indonesia reported 357 new COVID-19 cases and 11 new deaths, bringing the total number of infections and fatalities to 7,775 and 647 respectively, the government spokesman for handling COVID-19 Achmad Yurianto said.

Yurianto told a press conference that all of Indonesia’s 34 provinces are now affected by the outbreak. The country’s capital Jakarta is the hardest-hit with a cumulative total of 3,517 confirmed cases and 301 deaths.

Indonesia’s Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry said Thursday that the 2020 National Games scheduled to be held in October would be postponed to next year due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Secretariat of the Cabinet said in a statement that President Joko Widodo has signed a presidential decree requiring the government to simplify the import permits for food and raw materials to ensure adequate supplies of daily necessities during the outbreak.
(XINHUA)

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Indonesian capital extends partial lockdown amid COVID-19 spread

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The Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Wednesday decided to extend the partial lockdown in the city as the COVID-19 virus continues spreading.

Jakarta’s Governor Anies Baswedan announced that the partial lockdown which was planned to end on Thursday will be extended to May 22.

“We decide to extend the large-scale social restrictions until May 22,” the governor told a press conference.

The partial lockdown was imposed on Jakarta on April 10.

On the implementation of the restrictions, the governor said that there had been many violations including gatherings and operations of firms with staff working in offices.

He called on people in the capital city to obey the restrictions rules.
(XINHUA)

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Indonesian Muslim council forbids travelling home for Eid

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Indonesian Islamic scholars are seeking to avoid the usual mass homecoming for Eid-al-Fitr, forbidding people from travelling home during the coronavirus pandemic.

The fatwa was issued on Friday by the Indonesian Council of Ulema a day after President Joko Widodo, decided to allow millions of Muslims to travel to celebrate Eid in their hometowns next month, despite fears that they could spread the coronavirus,

“The virus spreads very easily. Doing something like that at a time of a pandemic is haram [forbidden],’’ the council’s sectary general Anwar Abbas said.

Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, is expected to start on May 23, depending on the sighting of the new moon.

In 2019, about 15 million Eid revelers travelled from the greater Jakarta region to their hometowns in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Indonesia rose to nearly 1,986 on Friday after 196 new cases were reported, in the biggest daily jump so far, the Health Ministry said.

The death toll rose to 181 after 11 new deaths, making Indonesia the  country with the highest number of fatalities in Asia outside China.

The State Intelligence Agency warned that the outbreak in Indonesia could peak in June with more than 105,000 cases.

The president on Tuesday issued a decree for a national health emergency and ordered large-scale social restrictions.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Felix Ajide
(NAN)

 

 

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Indonesian president takes test after minister contracts virus

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 Indonesian President, Joko Widodo on Monday said he and members of his cabinet had taken coronavirus tests after his transportation minister was hospitalised with Covid-19.

The government announced over the weekend that Budi Karya Sumadi had tested positive for the virus.

Asked about his test results, Joko said: “Just ask the people who administer it.’’

Officials have not disclosed the results.

The president said his government had not considered locking down the country despite public calls for such a measure.

“The most important thing is social distancing and avoiding large crowds,’’ he said.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Indonesia rose to 134 on Monday after 17 more people tested positive the disease, Health Ministry spokesman Achmad Yurianto said.

The death toll remained at five, he said.

On Saturday, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan announced the two-week closures of schools and public parks and urged employees to work from home after a spike of cases in the capital.

Several other cities and provinces have taken similar measures.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Ekemini Ladejobi
(NAN)

 

 

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Death toll from Indonesian flooding rises to 9

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The death toll from floods that hit the Indonesian capital Jakarta and its surrounding towns has risen to nine, the disaster agency said on Thursday.

The floods submerged homes in Jakarta and the nearby towns of Bekasi and Karawang in West Java province on Tuesday following heavy downpours, the National Disaster Management Agency said.

More than 60,000 people have been displaced.

Waters have largely receded in affected areas, but officials warned of more flooding during the rainy season set to end next month.

Floods and landslides are common in Indonesia during the raining season.

At least 66 people were killed in flooding that hit Jakarta and its satellite towns in January. 

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Tajudeen Atitebi

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COVID-19: Indonesian city bans sales of bats, snakes

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A city in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province known for exotic animals has stopped sales over Coronavirus (

COVID-19)

fears, a health official said on Friday.

Tomohon is known for its market that sells meat and live animals including rat, snake, bat and monkey for consumption.

“We have notified traders to temporarily stop the sale of bats, snakes and anything that is considered extreme,” Tomohon Health Chief Isye Liuw said.

“We are also tightening monitoring to watch for trucks carrying such animals into Tomohon. They come from other areas in Sulawesi,’’ she said.

Liuw said she had set up a team to spread the message about the ban.

“We told people about the danger of coronaviruses and they are fearful,” she said.

The move comes after the country’s Trade Ministry on Thursday introduced a ban on cattle and poultry imports from China. It had already banned imports of exotic animals from China.

The earliest cases of

COVID-19

were linked to a food market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan which reportedly sold exotic animals for consumption.

Indonesia has not recorded any infections of the new coronavirus so far.

But a team at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the U.S. said in a study last week that a lack of confirmed cases in countries that usually operate direct flights to and from Wuhan, such as Indonesia, “may suggest the potential for undetected cases.”

These countries should “rapidly strengthen outbreak surveillance and control capacity” to ensure potential cases are detected.

Indonesian Health Minister Terawan Putranto reacted angrily to what he saw as suggestions that Indonesia had not done enough monitoring or was incapable of identifying cases.

“That’s insulting. The kits we are using are from the U.S.,” Terawan said on Tuesday.

Indonesian officials said on Thursday they were investigating information that a Chinese tourist had tested positive of the virus after travelling to the resort island of Bali.

The man from Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus outbreak, tested positive on Feb. 5, a week after returning to China, according to Chinese authorities.

“We will be tracing his movements, what he did and where he went in Bali,” Indonesia’s presidential chief of staff, Moeldoko, said on Thursday.

The Indonesian Health Ministry said the man was likely to have been infected in China after returning.

“We suspect that he was infected after he arrived at the airport in Shanghai,” said Achmad Yurianto, secretary general of the ministry’s directorate for disease control.

Indonesia is home to some 260 million people, and has stopped flights to and from China since the outbreak of the virus.

The new coronavirus has infected tens of thousands in China and killed more than 1,300 there, as well as spreading to around two dozen countries.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Sadiya Hamza

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Indonesian spider-man cleans up neighbourhood

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Rudi Hartono, a 36-year-old café worker, on Tuesday said wearing spiderman’s costumes have attracted a lot of attention on a clean-up campaign.

Hartono started picking up rubbish on beaches in and around his coastal community on Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island, more than two years ago, very few people paid attention to him.

“But that changed when he began wearing a spider-man costume in 2018.

“Wearing the costume did the trick because it attracted people’s attention.

“Other people began joining and even the local government started doing their job of cleaning up and more recently, my photos became viral and more people have joined,’’ he said.

Hartono said he bought the costume to impress his young nephew but instead he scared the boy so he decided to wear it while picking up rubbish on the beaches.

He added that he also removed graffiti scrawled by students on the local council building and that despite the work he has done, some people are critical of his appearance.

“Some people mocked me and called me fat spider-man and an attention seeker but most people are on my side.’’

About 20 per cent of plastic waste in Indonesia is believed to end up in rivers and coastal waters, according to the World Bank.

A World Bank report said every 20 minutes the equivalent of a 10-ton truckload of plastic is dumped into the waters around Indonesia, making the country the world’s second-largest plastic polluter after China.

Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Abdulfatah Babatunde

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