Jakarta's government officials have covered up the city's massively polluted 'black river' with a mesh net to hide its smell ahead of the 2018 Asian Games

Megiza Soeharto Asmail/Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesWorkers seen putting black nest over the Sentiong River in Jakarta.
  • Government officials in Jakarta, Indonesia covered the polluted Sentiong River with a black net ahead of the 2018 Asian Games.
  • The black mesh net installed earlier this month is supposed to hide the smell and appearance of the river.
  • But locals have accused officials of trying to cover up the pollution problem instead of trying to fix it.

Government officials in Jakarta are facing criticism after buying a giant nylon net to cover up the city’s polluted river less than a month before the Indonesian capital hosts the 2018 Asian Games.

Next month more than 11,000 athletes from 45 countries will descend upon Jakarta for the tournament.

The city’s Sentiong River – known as kali item, or black river, to locals because of its serious pollution problem – runs along athletes’ village.

In an attempt to hide the smell and appearance of the river, Jakarta government officials installed a 656-yard by 22-yard black mesh net earlier this month, according to The Guardian.

An official told Kompas.com that the net’s function is “to elevate the beauty [of the river] so that the black water cannot be directly seen by international athletes.”

Water from a dam in Bogor in Java is also being used to flush the river’s pollution out.

The net cost the city government more than $US580 million rupiah, or $US40,000.

But local reports have revealed that the net has already been damaged by trash trapped underneath, with The Jakarta Post counting at least ten holes on Wednesday.

Governor Anies Baswedan has called for decorative lamps to be put on top of the net to make “the river look better.”

Residents of the city have criticised officials, saying they’re more concerned about covering up the pollution than they are combating the problem.

Indonesia’s National Development Planning Board reported earlier this year that 96% of Jakarta’s river water is “severely polluted.”

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