29 Apr Indonesia is tackling plastic pollution in a big way
Indonesia will take major steps in the coming years to reduce litter in the ocean around the country. With a new action plan, companies, governments and NGOs from Indonesia together hope to reduce the amount of plastic pollution by 70 percent within five years.
It is the first time that Indonesia has come up with such an ambitious plan that so many different parties are behind. The report compares the ‘business as usual’ scenario that now prevails with a future in which the country is tackling plastic pollution in five ways. Those ways are:
- reduce or replace disposable plastic. This would save a million tons of plastic annually;
- make new plastic products more recyclable;
- 80 percent of all plastic must be collected within five years; now that is 40 percent;
- set up more plastic recycling plants in Indonesia;
- process all plastic that cannot be reused.
Also read: A billion fewer plastic products in 2020
Investing in less plastic
The action points require investments from the government and companies. The British Plastic Energy already planned to build five factories for recycling last year , but more need to be added to handle the large amounts of plastic. In 2017, Indonesia produced about 6 million tons of plastic waste. Of that, 10 percent (620,000 tons) ended up in the ocean, according to the report. Ultimately, that plastic breaks down into smaller particles and becomes part of the plastic soup.
That is not the only reason Indonesia is concerned about plastic. Many remote villages do not have a central, separate collection of plastic and often burn it around their own homes. That is bad for public health. Even if plastic is collected, it will still be incinerated.
Plastic from the West
All these abuses must be resolved with the action points. What the report remarkably says nothing about is the large amount of imported plastic waste. Western countries regularly ship large amounts of waste to countries in Asia. A better recycling infrastructure in Indonesia may also give imported waste a second life.
Also read: Invention makes hard plastic more recyclable