Downstream Stories

Indonesia, Lakardowo Village


Lakardowo Village, Indonesia

Black smoke rises from the chimney of the active incinerator of Lakardowo Village in Indonesia. The smell is so bad, that the local community suffers from dizziness and gagging. Levels of breast cancer and stomach problems are on the rise. Two other villages are also impacted, Sumber Wuluh and Sambigembol.

Crops are covered with black ash and farmers are finding high rates of heavy metals in their soil. Yields have dramatically decrease over the past five years. 

The incinerator is run by a local company to burn medical waste from hospitals in East Java and East Indonesia. The company also openly burns the hazardous waste and digs big holes to bury the toxic ashes underground. 

The groundwater in the village is a source for irrigation and drinking water and clean water for the community. The groundwater in the village is heavily polluted with heavy metals and toxic chemicals. Inhabitants can no longer use their water wells for drinking, but still use the polluted water for irrigation, washing and bathing.

Downstream Community Stories

Farmers go to tend their plots near the incinerator.
Local Farmer

Local Farmer

Sriamah cultivates land next to the incinerator. Sriamah describes how the place has changed and how the pollution has destroyed the entire ecosystem, with crops no longer good for consumption, and children falling sick.


Local Farmer

Nurasim explains how yields have drastically decreased because of the toxic smoke, and how farmers continue to sell contaminated crops.

Describes the smoke coming from the incinerator, with the ash that falls on the crops and soil.

The arsenic and lead level in rice exceeds the safe limit for consumption, and the eggs from the area are contaminated with dioxins from the burning of plastic waste.

Rumiati, Sutamah and Sujiati are the leaders of Greenwomen, which is an acronym for GeRakan pErEmpuaN LakardoWO MANdiri or Joint Movement for Self-sustaining Women of Lakardowo. Together, they grapple with the negative impacts of the incinerator on their health.

Children suffer from itching and dry skin, due to the pollution.

Take Action

Share this story on your social media. 

Shot on location with the help of Ecoton.

Related Posts