Asbestos-free Neighbourhood

On Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 and 10 August this year, BaliFokus team participated the Socialization and Workshop of “Program KOTAKU” (Kota Tanpa Kumuh or Cities without Slums) and Communications Strategy at the Grand Santhi Hotel, Denpasar. The series of events was opened by I Ketut Sudikerta, Deputy Governor of Bali Province and attended by various stakeholders and shareholders of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Cities without Slums Program is a program of the Directorate of Settlement Regional Development, Directorate General of Human Settlements (Cipta Karya), Ministry of Public Works and Housing. The program was launched to increase public participation and strengthen the role of local government in accelerating the interventions for slums and urban revitalization supports for the period of 2016-2020.

KOTAKU program is using the platform of synergies between the local government and the city’s stakeholders in the respective Regency/City to accelerate the intervention of slum upgrading/improvement of the region to create a livable, productive and sustainable human settlement.

KOTAKU program identified seven indicators or criteria of slum areas, stipulated in the Ministerial Decree of Public Works and Settlement No. 02/PRT/M/2016 regarding the Quality of Slum Settlement and Neighbourhood Improvement as follows:

  1. Untidiness of the buildings within the neighbourhood;

  2. Untidiness of the neighbourhood’s access and roads;

  3. Poor or lack of drinking water supply system and services;

  4. Poor or lack of drainage system;

  5. Poor or lack of wastewater management and system;

  6. Poor or lack of solid waste management and services;

  7. Poor or lack of fire protection and preventive system.

The Local Government play an important role in KOTAKU program as follow:

  • The regulator that accommodates the aspirations of various actors in settlement development and improvement;

  • To facilitate communities’ active-participation in the improvement of the slums’ neighbourhood;

  • To establish collaboration between various actors and financing of the program;

  • To establish and/or strengthen the role of the Settlement Working Group (PokJa PKP);

  • To synergy the planning of slum neighbourhood improvement at the city-wide scale;

  • To revitalise the role of BKM / LKM (Badan Keswadayaan Masyarakat/Lembaga Keswadayaan Masyarakat or Community Self-Reliance bodies) from poverty alleviation orientation towards the improvement of the slums’ orientation.

Asbestos-free Neighbourhood (Kampung Bebas Asbestos)

The main legislation reference of the KOTAKU (KOta TAnpa KUmuh = Cities without Slums) Program is the Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia (Undang-undang) 1945 Article 28h paragraph 1, stated that: everyone has the right to live with physical and mental prosperity, to live in a house with good and healthy environment and to be served with adequate health and medical care system.

The word "health" mentioned twice in the sentence above is part of the Republic of Indonesia’s constitution. This is also closely related to the affairs of the housing and settlement condition, as one of the basic rights of the Indonesian citizens.

The 1945 RI Constitution Article 28th paragraph 1 is further and deeper elaborated in the Republic Act No. 1 year 2011 regarding Housing and Settlement Region supersede the Republic Act No. 4 year 1992. Recently, a regulation issued by the Minister of Public Works and Settlement, PUPR Ministerial Decree No. 02/PRT/M/2016 regarding the Quality Improvement of Slum Settlement and Neighbourhood.

As stated in various studies and reports, the public health condition in urban slums areas is quite low. Not only due to the lack of adequate environmental infrastructures, but also due to the low attention to the risk of exposure to asbestos that is widely used as a roofing materials in the urban poor settlements. The choice of asbestos roofing material is due to its low price and easiness to install them.

However, studies conducted by health experts showed that Asbestos Related Diseases (ARDs) such as mesothelioma and lung cancer, appeared 20-30 years after exposures to asbestos. By the time the symptoms detected, it would be too late and the chance to save the patient's life will be very slim.

Outside of Indonesia, in many developed countries, the use of asbestos had already banned due to it’s harmful effect to the human health. Asbestos also discussed in the Rotterdam Convention’s negotiations agenda. Unfortunately, as the 5th largest asbestos importer of the world, with consumption of asbestos around 131,622 tones in year 2015, increased from 109,129 tones in 2014 (USGS data). It seems that the Indonesian government have different opinion about asbestos: prioritize the business and economic interests instead of upholding the right to a healthy life of its population.

So far no Indonesian legislation prohibiting the use of asbestos roofing and enforcement of laws and regulations to ensure the right of citizens to live in a healthy environment. Currently, the policy makers and the general public do not realise the long-term consequences of the support for the asbestos industry. Only a small group of concern citizens understand the dangers of asbestos and the number is growing by one person if you read this article.

Therefore, to mainstreaming the right “to access health as a fundamental right of every citizen", Anita Syafitri Arif, City Changer and an associate at the BaliFokus Foundation, shared a presentation advocating the need to support the campaign for an Asbestos-free Settlement or Kampung Bebas Asbestos to uphold the right to live in a healthy environment, free of asbestos, for the ultimate goal of a healthy, good quality and happy Indonesians. The presentation material is presented below.

For more information regarding asbestos, please contact Anita at and Tio at or send an email to

Thank you for reading this article.

References for asbestos:

LION Indonesia (Local Initiative for Occupational Safety and Health Network) -

Rotterdam Convention Alliance (ROCA) -

International Ban-Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS) -

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