Rats are a major problem in Jakarta. Now the city is trying to combat the pests by paying its residents a bounty.
Rats have have been unwanted companions of mankind for millennia. Especially big, crowded cities with their often ubiquitous garbage and overburdened infrastructure provide a smorgasbord of food and shelter to the resilient rodents.
That was just as true of medieval London or Paris as it is of many megacities in the developing world today. One of them, Jakarta in Indonesia, has now launched a new initiative to fight the pests.
"There are so many rats here. They are dangerous for our health as they can carry diseases, like pestilence,” Jakarta's Deputy Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat said on Tuesday as he unveiled the so-called Rat Eradication Movement. "With this program, we want to invite residents to help reduce rat infestation in the city.”
The idea is simple: the city will pay residents the equivalent of €1.40 for each rat they drop off with the authorities. Djarot did not specify if the animals should be dead or alive but assured the public that there would be sufficient funds to buy any rats that were brought in.
He also did not specify how the animals should be caught or killed, with one notable exception. Djarot urged residents not to hunt them using firearms: "If possible, please do not use guns. If you miss your shot, the bullets could hit other people."
Just one more good reason to steer clear of rats when you see them in the street!