Jakarta to Pay Garbage Scavengers 2 Million a Month Salaries

Scavenger eating lunch in waste dump

From Kompas:

Basuki: We will pay rubbish scavengers 2 Million Rupiah [US$200] Per Month

The Jakarta Provincial Government continues to brainstorm ideas to find the perfect solution to solve its garbage problem. The current plan is to employ rubbish scavengers with a guaranteed salary of Rp 2 million per month [US$200].

This idea was first communicated to the press by the Deputy Governor of Jakarta, Basuki Purnama Tjahaja. According to him, these are Joko Widodo’s wishes as the Jakarta Governor to involve all stakeholders in solving the garbage and waste problems that continue to mount in the capital city.

Jakarta will pay Scavengers 2 Million Rupiah

“We’re not just talking about river cleanup or cleaning routines. We want everyone to participate to maintaining our city,“ said Basuki at the Jakarta City Hall.

Basuki explained that this effort would bring mutual benefit both for the scavengers and for reducing the amount of garbage in Jakarta. In addition, the scavengers can sort out the trash that still have value for sale and dump the rest of the trash accordingly.

‘Yes, we will provide them with a fixed salary. If we spend Rp 2 million for 2,000 people then it’s only going to cost Rp 48 billion. It is better than having a Rp 75 billion budget yet all the garbage problems still exist” he said.

Scavengers help also to clean river and environment

Comments from Kaskus:


An ordinary office worker’s salary is about Rp 2.2 million [US$ 220]… In comparison, the scavengers’ salary will be Rp 2 million [US$200]… Therefore, there will be more job alternatives for those bachelor degree graduates. lol.


Yay, it’s so cool that bachelor degree graduates can now work as office workers while high school graduates or below can work as garbage scavengers! Fantastic! We all are getting downgraded..! The value of our diploma is becoming more worthless as people start thinking they can get a Rp 2.2 million salary without even going to school.


Sorry, I don’t mean to offend you guys, but have you guys ever tried to work as a scavenger? That question is for those who said that Rp 2 million salary is too high for doing such menial work. Have you considered that this work includes cleaning the gutters which are full of wet garbage which are disgusting and not easily picked up?
I personally think it’s a very tough job so 2 million is a very reasonable salary if not maybe more. I don’t think I could do work like that as I would rather be sitting behind a desk.


I also want to apply to work as a scavenger [if the salary is that high]! Hahahaha…


Simply add the word “professional” to the [scavenger] title! It’ll work when you meet your future in-laws later ..
Future in-laws: What kind of job do you have that allows you to marry my daughter?
Scavenger: I’m a scavenger, a professional scavenger!
Future in-laws: Wowwww …… LOL!


Isn’t 2 million too high for a scavenger’s salary?
I’m sure there will be lots of people who want to work as scavengers now….


A scavenger would surely be richer than high school graduates after this.

A scavenger's job risk is dealing with life-threathening disease almost everyday

Minzi cool:

Jakarta is getting more chaotic ….
Bachelor degree graduates can only work as mini-mart employees…
While those below [high school graduates] would work as scavenger with a similar salary…


Even public service employees are only paid 1.7 [million rupiah] salaries.. OMG…!


A salary is usually directly proportional with production output.
If public service employees can take the morning off or spend half the day reading newspapers plus chit-chat then why should they be paid higher?
If the scavengers are given targets to clean certain road perimeters and they can achieve the target, why not give them a salary of Rp. 2 million?
Your diploma can only help so much as many people can still be successful despite the lack of a proper education. Ultimately, I believe that salary should be directly proportional to work output, otherwise it’ll be similar to our parliament members.


That’s a good idea, boss! We should also make a movie with title The Scavengers to rival The Avengers film. hahahaha…


2 million is a very acceptable salary. Remember that there are many life-threatening diseases around that garbage…


That’s a very good idea!
The introduction of this job can reduce the unemployment rate in Jakarta…


If I’m not mistaken, the scavenger’s salary in Australia is around A$5000-A$6000
Therefore, Rp. 2 million salary is actually still not much when compared to Australia.


This news does not motivate me to continue studying…=(

What do you think? Is the proposed salary for garbage scavengers unreasonable high?

Scavenger kid is playing in waste dump

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  • Erick

    Really Indonesians?
    You want to keep Jakarta clean, but does not appreciate people who risk their health cleaning the city? It’s about time they get a paycheck raise, after years being underpaid ):

    • majumundur

      If everyone getting salary increase in Takarta then the inflation will go above the sky and beyond… I think this is why the government official still thinking hard whether to implement it now or later….

      • Erick

        Will 2000 people getting 2 million job will affect inflation rate that much? I doubt it.

    • Madesu

      Yup, you both have good points. It’s really a complicated issue if you’re thinking about its domino effect. And its domino effect will happen to the whole country, not only Jakarta.

      • Erick

        What domino effect?
        It’s clearly stated that only 2000 people will get the 2 million job :)

    • Hokit

      I see your point about cleaners being underpaid and underappreciated. Keep in mind though that human nature is centred around the idea of cause and effect – i.e. rewards coming from hard work. It was mentioned in a netizen’s comment above that this scheme appears unfair for those who’ve invested years of hard work invested at school. And that’s a fair point because adequate rewards are important for justifying the sacrifices. Imagine toiling late into the night studying day in and out, only to end up with the same income as someone who didn’t need to put in as much effort.

      A better idea would be to engage engineers, social planners, architects, environmentalists, etc., to design facilities and develop plans that would work within the context of Indonesian society. And yes I agree that strong salaries are an important incentive for people to take up the role as a cleaner. Maybe formalising the role to include proper training would help give it the respect it deserves.

      • Erick

        “Imagine toiling late into the night studying day in and out, only to end up with the same income as someone who didn’t need to put in as much effort.”

        You’re right, picking up trash is not a high education job. But they are also dealing with nasty risks you students will rarely catch. I can name a few: malaria, yellow fever, fungus infection, diarrhea from still, dirty water. Chemical poisoning from decaying batteries, plastics. Tetanus from rusty nails. Mental health deterioration (Can you imagine working days and nights near a smelly Jakarta river? It’s not even boring job, it’s plain torture with such low wages.) Do they even have medical insurance and treatment when they catch a disease?

        White collar workers are precious, but it’s about time Indonesians appreciate the blue collar ones, since they are the ones who get their hands dirty down there.

        • Hokit

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for improving salaries and conditions for people in those roles, and for the reasons you listed. It’s moreso the pay rise, ideally, shouldn’t be the only significant change made to plans tackling the build up of garbage. It’s also essential to change people’s attitude towards managing and disposing their waste properly, but that’s a much harder and bigger problem to overcome. Hopefully there’s enough will power amongst officials to not ignore those other responsibilities.

          • Anjing

            It definitely needs to be part of a larger scheme, but I think decent remuneration for such a simply awful job is a move in the right direction, which is only fair considering the absolute horrors they have to deal with a daily basis (University graduates might spend a long time in University, but I’ll also bet the majority in Indonesia haven’t done so much as sweep a floor their entire lives).

            Of course it should be part of suite of reforms, in particular providing easier access to garbage disposal units throughout the city and also educating people on actually using them.

            Case in point is this week. If the outlets weren’t so clogged with peoples crap it’d go a long way to reducing the likelihood of flooding.

            Just because someone finishes uni doesn’t give them a pre ordained right to more than those who didn’t go or weren’t furnished with the opportunity to go. Often times, people do sweet FA in Uni and come out with a piece of parchment and a sense of self entitlement. Look at Australia for a country where the ‘plebs’ have more bargaining than the white collar workers.

          • Hokit

            “Look at Australia for a country where the ‘plebs’ have more bargaining than the white collar workers.”

            Depends on the situation, but workplace relations have become fairer since the AWA (Australian Workplace Agreement) was scrapped a few years ago.

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