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Finding fresh air in The Big Durian

Written by Holly Richardson

In the midst of Jakarta, the capital of the fourth most populated country in the world, fresh air is hard to find.

As the city has developed, urban green spaces and coastal mangroves have sharply declined, leaving the immense population with many environmental issues such as heavily polluted air and regular flooding.

Hear from some of the locals on how they value the remaining green spaces and how some are working to get them back.

 

Here are some photos of some of the places and people mentioned in the podcast.

Some of the many cars and bikes in Jakarta’s city centre, as well as one of the city’s new busses

Some of the many cars and bikes in Jakarta’s city centre, as well as one of the city’s new busses

 

Traffic on its way from Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport

Traffic on its way from Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport

 

Durian, an extremely popular fruit in Indonesia, but so infamously smelly, when opened, even in open-air markets, is kept sealed in plastic bags

Durian, an extremely popular fruit in Indonesia, but so infamously smelly, when opened, even in open-air markets, is kept sealed in plastic bags

 

The streets of Depok, near Universitas Indonesia, where many people have created small gardens, often encroaching onto the road and the occasional house still has a mature tree

The streets of Depok, near Universitas Indonesia, where many people have created small gardens, often encroaching onto the road and the occasional house still has a mature tree

The grounds of Universitas Indonesia, where huge trees stand amongst the buildings and lakes

The grounds of Universitas Indonesia, where huge trees stand amongst the buildings and lakes

The grounds of Universitas Indonesia, where huge trees stand amongst the buildings and lakes

The grounds of Universitas Indonesia, where huge trees stand amongst the buildings and lakes

Crossing the bridge into Muara Angke

Crossing the bridge into Muara Angke

Streets of Muara Angke

Streets of Muara Angke

Streets of Muara Angke

Streets of Muara Angke

One of Muara Angke’s many rubbish dumping grounds and also one of very few open spaces. Children often fly their kites here

One of Muara Angke’s many rubbish dumping grounds and also one of very few open spaces. Children often fly their kites here

Like in many parts of Jakarta, people share the streets with cats, sometimes pets but often not, the cats can pick up many scraps from the gutting of fish

Like in many parts of Jakarta, people share the streets with cats, sometimes pets but often not, the cats can pick up many scraps from the gutting of fish

In the wider streets of Muara Angke the traffic noise is incredible

In the wider streets of Muara Angke the traffic noise is incredible

Another of Muara Angke’s many rubbish piles and resident cats

Another of Muara Angke’s many rubbish piles and resident cats

New mangrove seedlings planted by locals in Muara Angke

New mangrove seedlings planted by locals in Muara Angke

Local boatman in Muara Angke

Local boatman in Muara Angke

One of the bamboo boardwalks through the mangroves – the best way to get through the mangroves without sinking into the mud or water and damaging new plant growth

One of the bamboo boardwalks through the mangroves – the best way to get through the mangroves without sinking into the mud or water and damaging new plant growth

New mangroves being planted on the shore, the soil is mixed with rubbish

New mangroves being planted on the shore, the soil is mixed with rubbish

One of the enclosed areas built to farm local fish and other aquaculture species in Muara Angke

One of the enclosed areas built to farm local fish and other aquaculture species in Muara Angke

The boarder walls of these enclosures are made from mud and compressed rubbish held in by bamboo, mangroves are also sometimes planted in these walls

The boarder walls of these enclosures are made from mud and compressed rubbish held in by bamboo, mangroves are also sometimes planted in these walls

Bamboo boardwalks and shelters in the Muara Angke mangroves

Bamboo boardwalks and shelters in the Muara Angke mangroves

One of the boarder walls of the enclosures, made from mud and compressed rubbish held in by bamboo

One of the boarder walls of the enclosures, made from mud and compressed rubbish held in by bamboo

Some of the fishermen of Muara Angke looking out onto the bay of Jakarta

Some of the fishermen of Muara Angke looking out onto the bay of Jakarta

Isnandar, local to Muara Angke and founder of a local mangrove protection group

Isnandar, local to Muara Angke and founder of a local mangrove protection group

Rubbish in the tides

Rubbish in the tides

Local government workers helping to clean up the mangroves and prepare it for planting

Local government workers helping to clean up the mangroves and prepare it for planting

Local government workers helping to clean up the mangroves and prepare it for planting

Local government workers helping to clean up the mangroves and prepare it for planting

Fruit of the mangroves

Fruit of the mangroves

Sweets made from the fruit of the mangroves – very nice in my humble opinion

Sweets made from the fruit of the mangroves – very nice in my humble opinion

Huts in Muara Angke where fishermen bring their boats and catch in

Huts in Muara Angke where fishermen bring their boats and catch in

Huts in Muara Angke where fishermen bring their boats and catch in

Huts in Muara Angke where fishermen bring their boats and catch in

View of the bay from Muara Angke

View of the bay from Muara Angke

Some of the young fishermen relaxing in the evening with their characteristic yellow boots

Some of the young fishermen relaxing in the evening with their characteristic yellow boots

Some of the young fishermen relaxing in the evening with their characteristic yellow boots

Some of the young fishermen relaxing in the evening with their characteristic yellow boots

An interesting contrast between the traditional Indonesian fishing boats and the rapidly growing high-rise

An interesting contrast between the traditional Indonesian fishing boats and the rapidly growing high-rise

After the catch is brought in, the processing begins, in this case it means sorting and taking the flesh out of molluscs

After the catch is brought in, the processing begins, in this case it means sorting and taking the flesh out of molluscs

The availability of different species varies seasonally but has also changed in the locals’ lifetimes, with some species once common now never seen

The availability of different species varies seasonally but has also changed in the locals’ lifetimes, with some species once common now never seen

Sorting these shells is hard work, the temperature and humidity is high and people have to work fast as well as shooing off chickens and cats that try to take some of the catch

Sorting these shells is hard work, the temperature and humidity is high and people have to work fast as well as shooing off chickens and cats that try to take some of the catch

In another part of the village fish are gutted and salted

In another part of the village fish are gutted and salted

These young men gut and salt these fish before they are taken to be dried on large racks

These young men gut and salt these fish before they are taken to be dried on large racks

Some of the large racks the fish and squid are dried on after being salted and boiled. The haze comes from the fires and vapour from boiling the squid

Some of the large racks the fish and squid are dried on after being salted and boiled. The haze comes from the fires and vapour from boiling the squid

The squid are boiled and salted in large, fired tubs

The squid are boiled and salted in large, fired tubs

It is hot and smelly work in this part of the process, the fishermen often play the radio as they work

It is hot and smelly work in this part of the process, the fishermen often play the radio as they work

After being boiled, the squid is scooped up in baskets, then taken to racks to dry

After being boiled, the squid is scooped up in baskets, then taken to racks to dry

The hot squid is spread on tracks

The hot squid is spread on racks

The squid are boiled in large tubs over a fire

The squid are boiled in large tubs over a fire

The enormous trees of Taman Suropati, the first of which were planted in 1920

The enormous trees of Taman Suropati, the first of which were planted in 1920

Some of the interesting people and creatures you run into in Taman Suropati, these people are from the Jakarta reptile appreciation society

Some of the interesting people and creatures you run into in Taman Suropati, these people are from the Jakarta reptile appreciation society

Other members of the public and Jakarta reptile appreciation society

Other members of the public and Jakarta reptile appreciation society

More interesting folk in Taman Suropati, these are members of the Guild of Swordsmen – photo credit Angel Parsons

More interesting folk in Taman Suropati, these are members of the Guild of Swordsmen – photo credit Angel Parsons

Members of the Guild of Swordsmen – photo credit Angel Parsons

Members of the Guild of Swordsmen – photo credit Angel Parsons

Taman Suopati, the park is often used for exercise by locals

Taman Suopati, the park is often used for exercise by locals

About The Author
Holly Richardson

Holly is in her final year as a science and journalism student. She is dedicated to reporting on science and environmental issues as well as regional and rural stories. She has gained experience working in media at the ABC, 4ZZZ, The Brisbane Times and Channel 10 as well as in science through completing her Zoology degree as well as working as a sc...