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Molantadu, Gorontalo, Indonesia.
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Environment

Indonesia Launches ‘Clean Indonesian Movement’ to Fight Plastic Waste


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Mismanaged government plastic waste policies and a lack of education and infrastructure has allowed Indonesia to become one of the world’s largest waste polluters. Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals, which call for sustainable cities and communities. You can join us by taking action for the environment here.

Indonesia has this week launched a massive Clean Indonesia Movement in the hope of lessening the nation’s overflowing landfills and polluted environment, according to Indonesian-based news site Republika.

The movement — instigated by the minister for maritime affairs, minister for transportation, and acclaimed Indonesian singer Titiek Puspa — will see recycling lessons taught throughout all elementary and senior schools. The educational program will seek to inform the nation’s youth that polluting has severe impacts and alternatives to plastic exist.

Plastic reduction programs will also be included in the nation’s land, marine, and air transportation industries.

Take Action: Pledge to Take Three for the Sea

"The Clean Indonesian Movement is our common movement. Waste is our common enemy," Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan stated during the movement’s launch in Jakarta, Republika reported. "It is our common responsibility to maintain a clean Indonesia."

During the launch, Pandjaitan also pleaded with citizens to refrain from using single-use plastics.

"If you go shopping, don't use plastic bags," he stated. "Take your own reusable bags."

The movement comes just months after the government introduced nationwide waste-to-energy power plants. The plants, launched in collaboration with Spanish recycling company Plastic Energy and the World Wildlife Fund Indonesia — can process and convert 100 tons of waste to produce 750 kilowatt hours of electricity daily.

The system works by using “patented low-carbon footprint technology” to convert plastics that cannot be mechanically recycled into oils, known as TACOIL. The oil can then be used as transport fuel or to produce new plastics.

Similarly, in 2017, the government committed to reducing waste in its seas by 70% by 2025, as per the United Nations Clean Seas campaign.

Read More: Indonesia Could Be the First Country to Move Its Capital Because of Climate Change

Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, is the world’s second largest contributor, behind China, to plastic waste in the world’s oceans. Research from scientific journal Nature suggests that of the global plastic waste in oceans, almost 15% comes from Indonesia.

"Indonesia is a major waste contributor on the Asian continent, with four Javanese rivers being of particular concern,” the 2017 report stated. “Overall, we computed a midpoint annual emission of 200,000 tons, 14.2% of global total, from Indonesian rivers and streams, mainly coming from the Islands of Java and Sumatra. This result reflects the levels of population density, as well as waste mismanagement in the region considering the surface area of these catchments is two to three orders of magnitude smaller than other large contributing rivers in the list.”

Despite increased pollution reduction initiatives, the government’s efforts have yet to yield significant waste reduction results.