Effects of Littering to Property Value

19 Aug 2015

by: Marini Gunawan

Nothing good comes from littering. There are environmental effects from trashes getting blown or drifted into the gutters. Flood is one of them. There are also chemicals and toxins that could leach into water systems and opened containers that could be a good breeding place for mosquitos. These are only a few that we’ve all heard before. But what if littering has economic effects too? What if we say that houses in littered neighborhoods sell for less than those in cleaner and tidier neighborhoods?

Cleaner communities have better chance of attracting new residents, new businesses, and even outside visitors (or even tourists). I would personally go for cleaner communities. If we could choose, would we opt for a littered community over a cleaner neighborhood? I don’t think so.

There is a good example as you can see in the picture below. A house in Alam Sutera (250 sqm building on 230 sqm land) was sold for Rp4.3 billion, or Rp17 million per sqm building area. Meanwhile, a house in Meruya Selatan (300 sqm building on 203 sqm land), which is basically in a much closer location to city center, and still located inside West Jakarta, was sold for Rp1.45 million, or Rp4.8 million per sqm building area.

NeighborhoodMeruyaSelatan NeighborhoodALamSutera

As a comparison, the house at Meruya Selatan is only 9.2 km from Bundaran HI, while the house at Alam Sutera is 18.9 km from the same point. How come a location that is twice closer to city center is three times cheaper? One of the simple reasons is that cluster type residential complex tends to be much cleaner and more organized compared to a normal non-cluster residential house. This shows that good environment thrives in the market. It is more preferable for most people, has higher demand, and therefore will achieve much higher price in the property market.


Littering has direct costs too, especially to us, the taxpayers. It is understood that the government spends a significant annual budget to clean up the streets. The total APBD (budget revenue and expenditure) for Dinas Kebersihan in 2014 reached Rp2.3 trillion (bisnis.com, Dec 2014).

Sadly, most people are not only indifferent, but they don’t seem to care, as it has been a very common sight to see people littering the streets from cars and motorcycles, or even when they were walking. Can we contribute to a better and cleaner environment? Of course we can. Doing your part to keep litter to a minimum can be a very simple act to do. For starters, when you couldn’t find a trash bin, hold until you come across one. Never let any trash gets out of your car. And last, make sure your garbage bins are closed properly and are not overflown. I have been doing these simple steps and still need to better.

With the rainy seasons looming, we need to start now. Littering should stop and it should start from us.

Cheers for a better environment!