Less Smelly, Organized, and No More Fire: The Impact of UNDP-supported Indonesia’s Green Sukuk in Piyungan Landfill

August 16, 2022

Special Region of Yogyakarta’s Environment and Forestry Agency office at Piyungan landfill.

Photos by Ikbal Alexander

As Indonesia takes steps to address the critical issue of waste management, the Special Region of Yogyakarta is working to convert its Piyungan landfill into a more sanitary landfill, where the trash is compressed, buried, and layered with protective material to allow it to decompose into biologically and chemically inert materials. With financing through UNDP-supported Green Sukuk, Indonesia’s Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing has begun revitalized the 12.5 Hectre landfill.

The landfill has been in operation since 1995 and serves Yogyakarta City, Sleman, and Bantul Regency.

Leachate collected from the Piyungan landfill is treated and filtered before being released.

Photos by Ikbal Alexander

The Ministry of Public Works and Housing agrees that Piyungan Landfill must address the critical issue of pollution. "The government has built infrastructures such as composting facilities and wastewater treatment to minimize the impact of pollution such as from water, soil, and air," said Tanozisochi Lase, Director of Sanitation.

He added that in the future, organic waste from households will also be processed into compost for the city's gardens. At the same time, plastic waste from factories and shopping centers will be sorted for recycling.

The waste is often piled up near shops and temporary houses surrounding the landfill. Children roll around on abandoned mattresses, giggling as they build structures with sticks, and treasure the toys they acquired from the landfill as their prized possessions.

Sampto and his wife are very few locals who originate from and now living surrounding the Piyungan landfill.

Photos by Ikbal Alexander

72 year-old resident, Sampto, who lived his entire life in Piyungan is among the dozens of local people living at the foot of a mountain of garbage with an estimated height of 140 meters above sea level. "Before the revitalization, the landfill created so many problems in our lives. We couldn't use the groundwater because it was smelly and grey,” he said.

According to Sampto, before the revitalization, waste regularly blocks the drainage system and caused floods and water-borne diseases. He added, “all the people who were living there suffered the same health risk, such as skin infections and bronchial problems."

There are no less than 447 scavengers in Piyungan Landfill who reply on collecting waste for their daily incomes.

By collecting most of the recycling material, this informal sector has helped the municipality reduce and manage the mixed waste. The number largely decreases due to the involvement of local people, including the 15 private recovery centers in the area. Each recovery center is able to recycle more than 8 tons of plastic waste per week and employ more than 30 scavengers.

Sampto mentioned how things began to improve when the Green Sukuk has been mobilized to convert the old landfill into a new sanitary landfill, "less smelly, organized, no more fire so far, no more criminal scenes like as gambling, prostitution, and drugs."

Besides solving a major environmental problem and uplifting the aesthetics of the city, this revitalization is also included a social component, where scavengers are organized and regularly get a health check-up from Yogyakarta’s environment agency.

The newly revitalized Piyungan landfill, covering waste of as tall as 140 meters above sea level with sanitary landfill method.

Photos by Ikbal Alexander

Revitalization of Piyungan landfill is one of the green projects funded by the Green Sukuk, a sharia-compliant bonds to finance government’s project which deliver climate change mitigation and adaptation benefit.

Dwi Irianti Hadiningdyah, Director of Sharia Financing at the Ministry of Finance said, “From the domestic issuance of Green Sukuk, youth accounted for almost 50% of the investor demography by age group.”

She notes that in issuing the Green Sukuk the Government of Indonesia affirmed its commitment to take an active role in addressing climate change.

Andika Sugiarto, one of the millennial investors who partake in the Green Sukuk sustainable investment, said "this is the least thing we can do as a youth. It feels amazing to know that my investment has been contributing to the revitalization of Piyungan landfill," he said adding that buying Green Sukuk in 2020 and 2021 felt empowering

UNDP has worked with the Government of Indonesia on Green Sukuk since it was first issued in 2018. The partnership ensures that funds promote projects that focus on the transition to a low-emissions economy and climate resilient growth. UNDP’s support includes developing a framework and preparing the annual Green Sukuk Allocation and Impact Report. The revitalization of the Piyungan landfill is an example of how sustainable finance underpins environmental projects to reduce greenhouses emission such as waste management.

The Government plans to issue another retail Green Sukuk in November 2022, and can be purchased from as little as IDR1 million at official distribution partners. Over the years, these instruments have shown the success in helping Indonesia achieve its commitment to overcome climate change which can further be learned through the Annual Green Sukuk Allocation and Impact Report.  


Text by Ikbal Alexander and Wahyuwidi Cinthya

Photos by Ikbal Alexander

Edited by Tomi Soetjipto and Ranjit Jose