How This City Becomes The Cleanest & Greenest in Indonesia

Skate & BMX Park (source)

The largest city in Indonesia (Remember, DKI Jakarta is a province),

The center of business place in Eastern Indonesia,

3 million people live,

7 trillion rupiahs of APBD (City Annual Budget),

34 Malls and Supermarkets,

More than 10 races is here,

Mrs. Tri Rismaharini,


Juanda International Airport,

Tanjung Perak Harbor,

Bungkul Park,

Yeah, Above are some backgrounds of the city I will explain in this article. Surabaya.

This is my team experience, seven years I have been living in Surabaya, I took college more than 4 years at Informatics Engineering ITS (Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember) and three years I’ve been an entrepreneur here, building tech-startup, married , have cutest baby girl, life, and also become a government consultant, I have many things that I learned from this city.

I just want to share something interesting and informative here, This article is a conclusion based on our two years research and interview with staff/member of DKP (Cleanliness and Landscape Department) Surabaya. And I believe someone never discuss it before, and this article maybe useful especially for another city government in Indonesia or another country.

Getting Started

Ten years ago Surabaya started to change become a better city. From the public service, the urban planning, the airport, the accessibility, the park and the cleanliness.

Surabaya in 2010 (source)

Here, I will explain why Surabaya’s cleanliness become awesome, and you know, Surabaya become the first city who get Adipura Kencana trophies (The Annual Award for Cleanest & Greenest Metropolitan City in Indonesia) for the 4th times (source), and this year, TPA Benowo became the best landfill in Indonesia and I heard Mr. President want to declare that this landfill will come example object of Indonesia Landfill Management (source).

This article is Government Point-of-View, So I will explain to you, especially for the other city Public Servant Employee (Indonesia : PNS) / DPRD Members (City Parliament) that almost EVERYDAY they are always visit DKP Surabaya to “learn” something, for example : why and how Surabaya become the cleanest city in Indonesia. So, I hope from this article you not need to go there, you can save your budget, you can save your SPPD (Letter of Travel), and you can utilize it for more useful needs.

Has Clear Target and Vision

Yes, Clarity! you must have a clean goal and vision. Because where there is no vision, there is no hope.

“I want Surabaya become a comfy city, with park and green line”
“I want the city main road is clean before 7 a.m., no excuse”

that’s what the city mayor said. And as you know, with her power, the statement should become a fixed price, all city department and government servant must have synchronization plan of her target and vision.

Become a city mayor is like God-Mode in a game, you can give command that anything you want, you can use your power to do anything, So has a clear target and vision is a must.

But I found a good question here, how we can motivate the team (public servant of a.k.a = PNS) to carry out the task that we already commanded?, how to drive them?, based on our experience and some research and interview, one of the powerful mantra of how to motivate or drive them is threat them to be moved or to be demotion, and someone who has power of that is the City Major or The Head of Cleanliness Department (Of course, if the cases about the cleanliness).

And based on that research too, we can conclude, 3 Things or you can say powerful mantra that can drive performance of them :

  • If you do this, you can save the budget
  • If you do this, you will be promote
  • If you do this, it is safe (From KPK or BPK)

And we think Mrs. Risma is one of best leader who implement it well.

One of Target and Vision of Surabaya

Call To Action

Dear Mr. / Mrs City Mayor or Head of Cleanliness Department, you must have clear goal, what is your annual goal for cleanliness of your city, define it, write it, review it daily (What we did today make closer to that goal?), and show it in the public, so they can help you too.

They Have Five-Stars Level of Waste Management

At 4 a.m some road-sweepers start to sweep the road, particularly the city main road, and at the same time, the Garbage Truck takes the garbage for the TPS (Trash Temporary Shelter) that located in almost every Kelurahan (Sub-District), and at the same time anyway, the garden employee start to sprinkle and clean the park / garden. Is it enough? No, The Yustisi Team move to some place to monitoring the garbage, the river-channel team start to clean the river. And you know, is just a same with the City Mayor, she start to control, monitor, around the city start 4.30 a.m, Why is she so early?, because at 6 a.m. the city start crowded, some people jog and play in the park, some people start to go to workplace, student is going to school, so the government want to serve the best, at 6 a.m the city is already clean and comfy. At night The Landscaping team start to cut the tree and Road-Lamp team start to control and monitor the road lamp.

To extend the life span of the landfill, Surabaya City Government implements a policy of reducing waste from its source through the 3R concept (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse).

The 3R in Surabaya is implemented through Independent Community-Based Waste Management with 3 basic concepts, reduce waste at its source; waste segregation; and waste processing. Organic waste is processed into compost by household composter such as barrel composter. While the inorganic waste is sold to scavengers or made into recycled materials. Activities undertaken for the Independent Community-Based Solid Waste Management include:

  • Dissemination;
  • Establishment of environmental cadres;
  • Assisting residents in cooperation with NGOs;
  • Distribution of barrel composter, and
  • Policy enforcement.

Community-Based Solid Waste Management has been implemented in 2774 regions scattered in the city oSurabaya and was recognized by awarding the community with titles such as Green and Clean, Merdeka Dari Sampah (Free from Garbage), Eco School, as well as Surabaya Green Office. Composting program and waste banks implementation are also done to reduce the amount of waste from its source.

Surabaya currently has 16 composting centres to process waste from market waste, household waste, and road and parks maintenance. There are five waste banks managed by the residents, namely Bank Sampah Mandiri, Bank Sampah Rukun Karya, Bank Sampah Kelurahan Jeruk, Bank Sampah Kelurahan Gading, and Bank Sampah Kelurahan Bulak Banteng. Seeing the success of the waste bank operation, subsequently Surabaya City

Call to Action

Dear Mr. / Mrs. City Mayor (again) How your intention to get up at 4 a.m. and have been around the city to check the cleanliness? I guess only few people who are willing, indeed it seems too micro-management, but for city leadership is unique and exceptional. It drive people to help, to have same sense of belonging to the city. Because if there is such a thing as good leadership, it is to give a good example — Ingvar Kamprad

Apply Reward & Punishment Method

Assertive, this is the only way to do Reward & Punishment, you don’t have to shy or fear. If you already define your goal, then keep it, keep it on track, If there is something that can make it fail, kick it. whatever the hitch will you face. Good and Evil, Reward and Punishment is the only motives to a rational creature : these are the spur and reins whereby all mankind are set on work and guided — John Locke

Call to Action

Create an Integrity Pact that your subordinate is agree for the goal, agree for the reward and punishment, make the hardcopy one of the agreement, and sign it together in one event.

Use Technology

Surabaya is a famous of smart city and e-Government, Surabaya is the pioneer of it, like in the picture above. And I just know that Surabaya also has system for managing the environment, to keep Surabaya green and clean. One of them called SWAT and SWIT. I really amaze they have a great system like that.


Is is “Solid Waste Transportation” a web-based application that use to manage waste transportation. It is internal use for DKP. It has feature such as Scheduling of Waste Pick-up service, Fuel Monitoring, Monitor the source of waste that enter in landfill, verify the waste (it has hazardous waste or not), Routing Management, Report Driver’s Performance, till vehicle and spare part management.

Video Profile of Solid Waste Transportation System


Is is “Sweeper In Tech”, a Web-based software that can manage about Sweeping management in Surabaya. It is internal use for DKP. It has feature like reporting where the road are still dirty or clean, supervising the sweeper with photo upload, performance report of the sweeper, request for road sweeping, and the fantastic one is the dashboard, it show all about sweeping reporting, really complete!.

The Dashboard of SWIT System
One of Some Reports of SWIT System

And the last time I heard they build a new system call GAMES (Gardening Management System) a mobile based applications that manage task management of the park, green line and all about landscaping. Just one word, Interesting!

Keep The Media Relation

With the digital era, as now, the media, both the mass media and social media is a must for anyone who wants to add insight or engagement of their products, Surabaya has completeness of media, start from Radio Suara Surabaya, Jawa Pos, JTV and other small media who often give positive side of this city. With such appreciation, the performance of the City Department will continue to be highlighted if it is either good spelled good, bad spelled bad, totally transparent. Therefore other than as a means of marketing, media also very important to monitor and control the performance of PNS.


Give media access everyday to make a journal of your activity, they always have a freelancer or intern that needs news, invite them, and help them to give a news with your activity. A simple mutualism.

Say Goodbye for Gratification

Corruption, a word that definitely appear everyday in our mass media. So, I will not explain much here.

Call To Action

Don’t take 3rd party money, whatever they will give you some “thank you money”, administrative money, this-is-has-become-a-culture, or whatever the hell is, don’t take it, I know we all need money, and I know you can manipulate it. But just don’t, if you take it, you can’t be assertive, if you can’t be assertive your journey to get the goal and vision will more away. And you know what, honor or reputation that you will get it in the several next year is more precious that the money you get.

And It’s not overnight success

Consistency or Istiqomah is a factor of the cover, by having a clear vision, five-star management, the rules of reward and punishment that is written, technology support, and maintain media relations, is sufficient to align you with Surabaya, lived through it with constancy, remember Surabaya now is the result of hard work from 10 years ago.

So, with this article, you do not need to be confused what steps should be done first. Surabaya as a pioneer is able to provide the above tips as a acceleration formula.

Don’t be shy to learning, it may shame for certain things, but to seek a knowledge it is so stupid if you are shy. There are already 2 cities / provinces who want to learn from Surabaya, but they feel shame and lowering their dignity, Why? because they learn from another city from Indonesia and feel better if they learn from another country, Come on, they have different culture with us, Are you kidding me? (If you are Indonesian, you may be understand what I mean).

We believe, if a city do all the way above, minimum they will get Adipura Trophy easily. You don’t believe me or want to discuss it? feel free to contact us :)

Surabaya, The Cleanest & Greenest City In Indonesia

PS : The writers is now become WMS (Waste Management System) Consultant in Surabaya City Gov, Samarinda City Gov, and Tangerang City Gov.

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