Household income, living and working conditions of dumpsite waste pickers in Bantar Gebang: Toward integrated waste management in Indonesia

Shunsuke Sasaki, Tetsuya Araki, Armansyah Halomoan Tambunan, Heru Prasadja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)


This paper clarifies household income, living and working conditions of dumpsite waste pickers at Bantar Gebang final disposal site for municipal solid waste generated in Jakarta, and investigates the feasibility of integrating the informal sector into formal waste management in Indonesia. The first author did fieldwork for totally 16 months at the site and quantitative field surveys were conducted twice during the period. All respondents in the first round quantitative survey (n = 1390) were categorized as follows: waste pickers, family workers, wage labors, bosses, family of the bosses, housewives, pupils/students, preschoolers, the unemployed, and others. Based on the results of the second round quantitative survey (n = 69 households), their average household income was estimated to be approximately US 216 dollars per month (n = 59 households), which was virtually equivalent to the minimum wage in Jakarta in 2013. Living conditions of scavengers at the site were horrible, and their working conditions were dangerous due to medical waste and other sharp waste. Polluted groundwater was one of the serious environmental problems at the site. Despite the social, health and environmental problems, they were attracted to the freedom of entering the informal recycling system in Bantar Gebang and withdrawing from the system, in which a lot of opportunities were provided for the people having few marketable skills to obtain cash earnings. The freedom of their choice should be guaranteed as a prerequisite before integrating the informal sector into formal waste management. Furthermore, special attentions are required when incomes of scavengers are the same level as minimum wages and the national economy is rapidly growing, because scavengers cannot easily change their jobs due to few marketable skills. Indonesian national waste laws and regulations should be properly applied to facilitate a socialization process at final disposal sites. Measures need to be taken to prevent children from working as informal recycling actors, especially for waste pickers aged 15 or younger.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Aug



  • Dumpsite waste picker
  • Final disposal site
  • Income
  • Indonesia
  • Integrated waste management
  • Living condition
  • Working condition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics

Cite this