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Review of 'A survey of the supply and bacteriologic quality of drinking water and sanitation in Jakarta, Indonesia.'

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Average rating:
    Rated 5 of 5.
Level of importance:
    Rated 5 of 5.
Level of validity:
    Rated 5 of 5.
Level of completeness:
    Rated 5 of 5.
Level of comprehensibility:
    Rated 5 of 5.
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A survey of the supply and bacteriologic quality of drinking water and sanitation in Jakarta, Indonesia.

We assessed the water supply, water quality and human waste disposal and their association with diarrheal illness in Jatinegara, East-Jakarta, where part of the area has been involved in the Kampung Improvement Program (KIP). Three hundred seventy-eight households, randomly selected in the study area, were visited and questioned about water source, sanitation and diarrheal illness during the previous 3 months. Microbiological quality of drinking water was assessed. The water sources were boreholes (243; 64%), the water mains (77; 20%), bottled water (45; 12%), and vendors or dug wells (243; 4%). Fecal coliforms were isolated in 56% of the samples [median 23 (IQR 6-240) /100 ml in the contaminated samples]. Only 2 (3%) of the water mains' samples contained >100 fecal coliforms/100 ml, compared to 57 (24%) groundwater samples. Most residents used private toilets with drainage into on-site septic tanks, yet in over one quarter of households human excreta was disposed of into rivers or gutters. KIP areas lagged behind in environmental hygiene. Diarrheal episodes, reported in one third of the households, were significantly associated with water contaminated with >100 fecal coliforms/100 ml [OR 2.4 (95% CI: 1.4-4.2)], but no association with water source or environmental contamination was found. Significantly, all individuals reported boiling water before consumption.
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    Review text

    Introduction

    I am interested in reviewing this paper, because I watched a featured news on a Sydney TV station. The news featured a water seller living in Jakarta. He claimed that he makes his living by selling clean water in cans to the kampung (small intra city village) settlers. He said it was due to the poor water supply system by the Govenment, that he could make money from selling water. 

    It was in late 1990 that the Government of Indonesia started Kampung Improvement Program (KIP) in several big cities. The program has drawn many eyes since then. However, I don’t see if it still runs today.

    Then I try to search the ScienceOpen platform and found this paper (link: https://www.scienceopen.com/review?17&id=a72ac154-1378-415a-bec4-9965827ded28, PubmedID: 16610661).  The full paper in PDF can be downloaded from: 

    http://imsear.li.mahidol.ac.th/bitstream/123456789/34888/2/1552.pdf

    General comments

    This paper is one of the most comprehensive report in KIP. I don’t see many of it. A search using Google Scholar gives me older results and several new ones. 

    The authors had successfully described the status of KIP impact by looking to several components: water supply, drinking water, waste water treatment, sanitation - garbage disposal system, diarrhoeal disease as well as looking at the  socioeconomic status.

    As many as 378 households (HH) had been surveyed, consist of 123 HH from KIP-treated area and 255 HH from non KIP treated area. 

    The authors found that water supplies from the KIP were adequate at that time to supply water for the settlers. However, the domestic waste water treatment had still faced problems. The impact were not satisfactory as it still caused the high coliform concentration in the water.  The government should pay more attention to this aspect if they are interested to start over the program in the future.

    Specific comments

    I understand that online open repository was not popular back then, but it would a great addition if the HH data could be made available publicly. More analysis should address how is the quality of the same HH change over time, with the change of administration, more water and sanitation improvement programs, and the conducive economic situation. 

    The authors said that the distance from river was one of the parameter to control the faecal concentration in the water. It’s very interesting if future research could address the connection between river water and groundwater. My research experience (Irawan et al., 2015) had found the change of flow direction along Ciliwung riverbank. The central part of the river which flows through a very dense along river settlements, had shown a gaining stream flow. So the intial source of faecal contamination would be the contaminated groundwater from poorly constructed septic tanks.

    Closing

    The problem is not solved yet, therefore more research should be addressed to answer the problem of water contamination in the riverbank.     

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