Condoms Blocking Drains is a Serious Problem in Indonesia’s Capital

Used condoms are clogging Jakarta’s drains and stressing out wastewater treatment centers workers.
translated by Jade Poa
Condoms Blocking Drains is a Serious Problem in Indonesia’s Capital
Images via Shutterstock.

Some Indonesians seem to be having trouble reading the disposal instructions on packs of condoms. With many users simply flushing them down the toilet, this negligence has led to thousands of condoms clogging the drains of South Jakarta.

The piles of used condoms surfaced when a worker was cleaning a chronically-clogged water tunnel at a wastewater treatment center. At first, workers believed a drain near the Chinese embassy was clogged. After closer examination, they realized waste had grossly accumulated in the tunnels.


“There’s so much plastic waste, plus the huge amount of condoms,” the waste treatment center’s director, Subekti – who like many Indonesians goes by only one name – told local media.

And used condoms aren’t the only culprit. They also found used sanitary pads and underwear, alongside various types of plastic waste – which thoroughly overwhelmed the cleaning crew that spent 12 hours cleaning the drains. Subekti said he can only warn office and apartment buildings of the risks of throwing such waste into the toilet, since there are no policies in place to deter people from doing so.

Indonesia should learn a thing or two from Thailand, where something similar took place in June. A hotel in Bangkok had to pay 10,000 baht (US$324) for intentionally throwing condoms and toiletries into the toilet.

This also isn’t the first time condoms have wreaked havoc on Indonesia’s drainage system. In Solo, a wastewater pipe was clogged monthly with thousands of used condoms, leaving workers to deal with a literal truckload of waste before the pipes were restored.

The solution of course, is ridiculously simple. Just read the label and toss your used condoms where they belong. Same goes for diapers, sanitary pads, and underwear. Hint: it’s not in the toilet.

This article originally appeared on VICE Indonesia.