By Jess Murray, True Activist
Indonesia is currently the second largest contributor of plastic pollution in the world.
Indonesia have just announced plans to invest $1 billion every single year in a huge attempt to reduce ocean pollution by 70% by 2025. The decision comes following statistics showing that Indonesia currently unloads more plastic into the oceans than any other country except China. They will spend the entire $1 billion a year sum on tackling plastic pollution, together with other waste that is constantly dumped into the ocean, according to reports. Each of the 250 million residents of Indonesia currently contributes from 0.8 to one kilogram (around 1.7 to 2.2 pounds) of plastic waste every year, according to the World Bank. These statistics make Indonesia the second largest plastic polluter in the world, according to a 2015 Science article.
Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, recently announced the $1 billion move to tackle this issue during the 2017 World Oceans Summit that was held in the country at the end of February. Actively protecting the country’s oceans is a crucial move due to the fact that the area is home to the highest levels of marine biodiversity in the world. Indonesia’s marine life is a huge aspect that attracts tourists from all around the world, making the protection of it essential for their economy. The area is part of the Coral Triangle, meaning that in addition to a tourist attraction, its coral reef ecosystems also grant food security. Plastic pollution is a huge threat to these ecosystems, with a recent study suggesting that by the year 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans around the world.
Pandjaitan has claimed that there are a number of different ways that Indonesia can accomplish their goal. Some ideas that will help to contribute to the overall picture are implementing a tax on plastic bags and running a public education campaign. Together with this there are also ideas about supporting new industries which utilise biodegradable materials, such as seaweed or cassava, in order to yield healthier alternatives to excessive plastic use, which has very negative consequences for the natural environment. The country made their pledge as part of the United Nations’ Clean Seas initiative, which nine other countries have also joined. The aim of the initiative is to publicise the campaign to reduce plastic levels in the ocean through the use of strategies which include waste management.
Numerous companies currently produce small scale products, which include items such as single use shampoo packets and confectionery items. These are all very popular items in the communities where there are cash flow pressures and habitat issues which prevent any alternative and sustainable consumption. Added to this is also poor waste management, which all totals to a large-scale plastic pollution problem. Education for Indonesia’s citizens is a crucial factor if this pledge is to succeed. Reports state that across the country’s 17,000 islands there is a poor public understanding of the huge problems that are created due to plastic waste. The Clean Seas website is open to the public to commit to actions such as avoiding cosmetics with harmful microbeads, avoiding the use of plastic bags, or carrying a reusable coffee cup.
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