Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Coastal region and small island papers 6

Socio-economic conditions in communities in the Jakarta Bay area and the Seribu Islands 

In order to develop a holistic approach to the problems facing Jakarta Bay and the Seribu Islands, a socio-economic survey was conducted in 19971999 with UNESCO support, by several local partners: the Indonesian Institute of Technology (ITI), the University of Indonesia, and the Bina Swadaya and Muara Foundations. These surveys included three communities in the Jakarta Bay coastal zone: Kapuk Muara, Kamal Muara and Kronjo; as well as Pari Island in the Seribu Islands.


3.1.1. Community social organization

KAPUK MUARA is an urban waterfront community on the Muara Angke River estuary, about a kilometre from the coast. Administratively, Kapuk Muara is located in Kecamatan Penjaringan, North Jakarta Municipality. The study area covers about 19 ha, (2.9% of the Kapuk Muara area) where 1,364 families live. The purpose of the study was to describe the socio-economic conditions, attitudes and perceptions of the communities with respect to their environment. The study was conducted by ITI in 1997.

The Angke Riverbank has been inhabited for over 50 years. The inhabitants consist of two principal groups: 'indigenous people', Betawine communities who have lived on the Angke Riverbank for more than five decades; and new migrants from other parts of Jakarta or from other areas such as: Central Java (Tegal, Wonogiri, Solo, Brebes, Semarang and Purwokerto), West Java (Tangerang, Bekasi, Karawang, Cirebon and Kuningan) and Madura. These migrants settled on the Angke Riverbank in the 1990s. Most are seasonal migrants who stay in the Jakarta area during the agricultural slack season. Most of the inhabitants of Kapuk Muara work in informal sectors as vendors or labourers, generally working between 910 hours a day. They live, however, below the poverty line due to their limited capital and skills.

Many people living along the riverbank scavenge used objects and collect garbage from the river by boat, which they then sell to a collector or lapak. Usually scavengers work on the river renting boats, fishing or in construction work and scavenge only in their spare time.

KAMAL MUARA is an urban community located on the northern coast of Jakarta on the border between Jakarta and West Java. There are three significant ethnic groups in Kamal Muara : the Buginese (60%) who are economically dominant; the Javanese (20%) who are new comers, and the Betawine (20%) who are considered to be indigenous people. Although they live in segregated areas, they coexist peacefully. While the new comers live close to the beach, the Betawine people live in the kampung (inland area). Most people are fishers (65%), others work in factories (20%) or as traders (15%). A long time ago , about 80% of the people in this area were fishers. Young people now prefer to work in the factories of north Jakarta.

KRONJO is a rural community. The village is situated north of Tangerang, with a total area of 700 hectares. In 1998 it had a population of approximately 5,963. Administratively, the village is part of the District of Tangerang. About half of the active population are fishers, others depend on agriculture. Like Kamal Muara and Kapuk Muara, most of the inhabitants, especially the fishers, live below the poverty line.

3.1.2. Housing conditions

on the


Housing conditions in the three areas reflect the poverty of the inhabitants. Housing in Kamal Muara falls into two categories, formal and informal. Formal housing lies on private land and was built with construction permits; informal housing has no legal basis. On the Angke Riverbank almost 80% of the houses are semi-permanent, cement or soil floored, with brick and wood walls. The crowded clusters of buildings are separated by narrow streets (0.51 m wide). Angke River housing can be divided into two categories: houses on the riverbank and houses on stilts in the river (rumah panggung). Over the last thirty years the residential area has increased. The tidal swamp which functioned as a storage reservoir or flood plain for the Angke River has been filled in and houses now stand on the re claimed land. None of the houses have a construction permit and they stand on illegally occupied state land. In the Jakarta Metropolitan Area Urban Plan (RUTRK 19852005) this area is destined to be a green corridor along the river. By applying the 'Clean River Programme' (Program Kali Bersih PROKASIH), the Jakarta Municipality has tried to move people from the area. Some people have received compensation for their land and buildings but they still live on the Angke Riverbank. They know that they are there provisionally, but they do not know for how long. Their lack of capital makes it unlikely that they will be able to afford a house or land elsewhere.

The settlement has been legitimised by the local government (North Jakarta Municipality) in that it is included in some governmental programmes: the Donation Programme for Poor Neighbourhoods (Inpres Desa Tertinggal IDT), Social Safety Net (Jaringan Pengamanan Sosial JPS), Kampung Improvement Programme (Muhamad Husni Thamrin Programme). The inhabitants pay regular household tax (Pajak Bumi dan Bangunan PBB) which normally only applies to permanent constructions; and the Angke Riverbank is serviced by electricity from the Public Enterprise for Electricity (Perusahaan Listrik Negara PLN).  

The housing in Kamal Muara can be grouped into three categories: permanent (20%), semi-permanent (23%) and non-permanent (47%). The two latter categories consist of small houses with leaking roofs, soil floors and bamboo, or in a few cases old rubble walls. Most houses are on state land; only a few long-term residents own their own land. Since the area experiences seasonal floods it is clear that the physical environment is a hazardous one, causing skin-related problems, particularly in children.

Housing conditions in Kronjo are more organised than in Kamal Muara and Kapuk Muara. Most fishers live on the riverbank in bamboo houses, some live in the kampung close to the river, and farmers live in inland areas.

3.1.3. Water supply

Washing with
Angke River

Prior to 1997, clean water came from public water containers and hydrants financed by the Public Enterprise for Water Supply, but since the economic crisis this service has stopped. Now there is no clean mains water supply in the Angke Riverbank residential area; people buy clean water from vendors who deliver it by lorry to their homes. The inhabitants pay 30 rupiahs per litre for clean water (about 20 times more than people pay in luxury residential areas). Clean purchased water is only used for drinking and cooking, while groundwater and Angke River water are used for bathing and washing. Children swim and play in the river.

Chemical and microbiological analysis results show that the water in Kapuk Muara is highly contaminated with Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Shigella, lead, mercury, copper and iron. The bacteria indicate that the water is polluted by faecal matter. The heavy metal present in highest concentration in the groundwater is iron at 58 mg/l (maximum tolerable level is 2.0 mg/l). Other metal pollutants are within the safety limits.

The river water is used for some commercial food processing, such as 'tempe' (fermented soybeans) and 'cincau' (food derived from the cincau plant). Processing requires a lot of water. If mains water or water from street vendors is used, production costs are higher. According to producers, their product is safe and clean, as they filter the water before using it.

Although various programmes have been implemented to help the Kamal Muara community, their standard of living has hardly changed. According to the residents the provision of clean water is a priority. The scarcity of clean water is due to the natural conditions of the area and the poverty of its people. At present, there are three sources: piped water from hydrants, pumped groundwater and water from shallow wells.

For drinking and cooking, people buy water from street vendors who collect clean water from the state-owned water company (PAM) hydrant. The hydrant lies outside the three neighbourhoods under discussion in Tegal Alur Kelurahan. The price of hydrant water is about 600 rupiahs per tin or 24 rupiahs/l (one tin contains 25 l).

There are six jet pumps, half are managed by the neighbourhood committee together with the Mosque, half are managed privately. Pumped groundwater is used for bathing and washing; it is not used for drinking because it tastes bad. The better-off pay to have water from the pumps delivered to their homes; others collect water themselves. People who live near jet pumps use rubber pipes to transport the water, so they have cheaper access to water than people who live at a distance.

Since the residential area was formerly swamp land, people have made shallow wells close to their homes simply by digging 1.5 to 2 m down. The water quality of these wells is not good and the water is used only for washing and bathing. During seasonal flooding the wells are unusable as they are polluted by all kinds of wastes. Once the floods subside, people can use the wells again and so reduce household water expenses.

Those who have lived on the Angke River for more than 15 years, no longer use river water to fulfil their daily needs; having seen the river water quality deteriorate they prefer to collect well water. Meanwhile those inhabitants who arrived more recently have a different perspective for they are not aware of the long term deterioration of the river water quality, and the inadequate freshwater infrastructure forces them to use river water for their daily needs.

3.1.4. Drainage system

In Kapuk Muara and Kamal Muara, the drainage system is in a very bad condition. The river water is black and has an unpleasant odour because of the tidal flow and the use of the river as a garbage disposal system for local household waste. The river is also used to flush out industrial waste, some of which contains heavy metals. Most of the residential area in Kamal Muara and Kapuk Muara is two metres below sea level and floods at high tide.

3.1.5. Sanitation

Only 34 of the 422 houses in Kamal Muara have lavatories; no houses in the other two communities have indoor plumbing. On the Angke Riverbank, people have a habit of defecating and urinating in the river; public toilets (hanging toilets) along the river are common. An interesting dimension of hanging toilets is the social interactions it creates between people in the area. Kronjo inhabitants defecate in fishponds and on paddy-land near their houses.

Public sanitary units (Mandi-Cuci-Kakus MCK) built by the community with private or government assistance, are sometimes supplied with bad quality groundwater (yellowish, smelly, brackish and polluted). In the study area there are seven public sanitary units to serve about 2,000 households (29,000 people). Each sanitation unit has two lavatories and four baths. They are managed by the private sector. In Kamal Muara, there are 3 public sanitary facilities. One is close to Kamal Raya road, the other two are in the housing area.

3.1.6. Public health

The economic crisis, which started in 1997, has changed the consumption patterns of Indonesians in general, including people living in the coastal zone of the Jakarta Metropolitan Area. The price of food has increased three or four fold since the crisis. Food consumption is therefore less, especially protein, which has increased in value more than other food products. In areas like Kamal Muara and Kronjo, people continue to consume enough protein, due to fishing activities. On the Angke Riverbank, however, most mothers cannot afford food supplements and depend on their own milk to feed their babies (01.5 years). As mothers do not eat enough protein, their milk production is lowered, and their babies show signs of malnutrition.

The most common infectious diseases affecting children are diarrhoea, influenza, coughs, skin diseases and cholera. People who habitually use river water for bathing are subject to all kinds of skin diseases, from minor fungal diseases, e.g. pitiriasis versikolor, to skin infections that suppurate. Respiratory tract infections are common among children and old people, caused by humid conditions and cramped living quarters with insufficient sun-light and ventilation.

On the Angke Riverbank and in Kamal Muara gastrointestinal diseases like dysentery and cholera are common. They are spread by infected water and poor sanitation. River water and groundwater both contain high levels of Escherichia coli and Salmonella bacteria.

Although environmental factors are responsible for much of the disease and ill health suffered by the peoples of north Jakarta, this is not fully understood by the inhabitants, who believe these diseases are common to all people.


Located close to the capital city, the Seribu Islands are exploited in several ways, from tourism to mining, and from sailing to fishing. While the region is income generating, some of the current economic activities constitute a potential threat to the environment.

In 1994 this region, which has a total land mass of 11.8 km2, had a population of 15,114 (7,774 men and 7,340 women), grouped under 3,165 heads of families. Between 1989 and 1994 population growth averaged 1.2% annually. The Regional City Site Planning Unit (RBWK) predicts that by the year 2005 the population of the Seribu Islands will reach 27,425, or nearly twice its current population. As a little over half of this total (about 13,000 people) will be of working age, the issue of job opportunities will become a serious problem in the region.

Although the archipelago now consists of 105 islands, the population is concentrated on certain islands. The islands with the largest populations are Kelapa (3,746), Panggang (2,912), Tidung (2,869), Untung Jawa (1,363) and Harapan (1,236). The tendency of the population to concentrate on certain islands is influenced by two factors: the availability of important natural resources, particularly potable water; and the restricted access to some islands because of conservation and tourism. Only fourteen islands are inhabited; their population is thus relatively dense, averaging 1,281 people/km2 Panggang Island, the sub-district's administrative seat, has the highest population density.

The average educational level of the islanders is rather low. About 50% drop out of elementary school and very few manage to obtain secondary school education. The majority of workers are employed in the 'informal' sector, most (75%) as fishers. Other islanders work as civil servants, construction workers and merchants, or have jobs in the service sector.

Although there are several other major economic activities in the archipelago, e.g. mining and tourism, few local workers are involved. In the last few years light industry has developed. These alternative activities notwithstanding, there is no real indication that the people of the Seribu Islands are moving towards a non-fishery based economy. Their background makes it difficult for them to expand into other sectors.

Research undertaken in 1990 on the region's fishing society by 'Gugus Analisis' (a community group), indicated that 35% of the population were living below the poverty line. Only 40% of the islanders have permanent homes, while 34% live in semi-permanent dwellings and 26% in temporary ones. The villages in the area are still classified as 'backward' by the government.

Men still play the dominant role in the household. Women are limited to domestic work or to helping their husbands. Their only income-generating role is in small-scale trading, such as running tiny stalls to provide daily necessities.

3.2.1. Socio-economic status of Pari Islanders

Pari Island lies approximately 24 km north of Jakarta. It is home to 118 families (about 350 people). Traditionally, most families relied on fishing for food and income, but now many people work on seaweed farms. Seaweed cultivation was initiated with LIPI/UNESCO support and has proved successful due to the demand for seaweed both nationally and internationally.

Approximately 60 people were interviewed in order to study their social and economic conditions. The educational level of the respondents was very low; some had no formal education (20.2%), most only went to primary school, a few went to intermediate school (7.3%).

Almost everybody stated that their major source of income (90%) came from seaweed cultivation. A few had additional minor sources of income such as fishing, trading, boat hire or carpentry. Table 2 shows the average family income and expenditure. Family income is dependent on the price of seaweed, which in December 1998 was 5,000 rupiahs/kg for dried-unsalted seaweed and 3,500 rupiahs/kg for the dried-salty seaweed. Most of the family income was spent on food.



Average income from seaweed farming


Average expenditure on food


Average expenditure on education


Average expenditure on electricity


Average total expenditure


Table 2.
Average income
statistics for the
Pari Islanders


(1 US dollar = 7,500 IDR)
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