Why Indonesia

Plastic Leakage in Indonesia

  • The land of thousand islands

Known to the world as the “thousand-island country,” Indonesia has a total of 17,508 islands, among which ~6,000 are inhabited with a population of 276 million. The vast array of land mass makes it a significant challenge to consolidate the waste for proper management. As a result, its oceans are the recipient of all trash.

  • Large plastic consumption and inadequate infrastructure

Indonesia is the 4th populous country and ranks No. 2 among selected countries polluting the oceans with the most plastic waste (chart below).

  • Weakening state of the Indonesian rivers - Citarum example

  1. ‘Sacred river’ in local language, is considered to be the 'the world's most polluted.' 

  2. 2,000 tons of plastic flows through the Citarum every day.

  3. Rafts of plastic waste measuring miles long drifting through it periodically during the rainy season.

  4. Species of fish reduced by ~60% in recent years, and those left are deemed too dangerous to eat.

  5. Locals are forced to throw their garbage into the river because of lack of access to landfill.

Citarum is a reflection of the rest of rivers in Indonesia.

Government Reaction

Government pledges to

  • Reduce plastics by 70% by the year of 2025

  • Achieve a plastic pollution-free Indonesia by 2040

  • Spend up to $1 billion annually to support this goal

  • Collaborate to launch the Indonesia National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP) with the World Economic Forum

Large plastic consumption and inadequate infrastructure

  • Citarum Harum - National Initiative since 2018

Citarum Harum was initiated by the government and the military to clean up Citarum river to make it drinkable by 2025.

  • Plastic tax

Plastic tax of Rp.200 (1p) per plastic bag was introduced in 23 cities during 2017. The results showed a decrease in plastic bag use, but the tax was met with notable resistance from retailers.

  • Public awareness

11 ministries have agreed to a National Action Plan, including measures to educate the public, but it’s unlikely to be sufficient to significantly reduce dependency on single-use plastics.

  • Law making and application

Law enables provincial governments to create incentives and disincentives to use public facilities. Regional governments are still deferring to the national government for approval and support before taking actions to make changes.

International Collaboration

The world has seen efforts made by the Indonesian government embracing innovative technologies and collaborating with global NGOs and private capitalists.

Cenkareng Drain - Dutch NGO Ocean Cleanup

  • Catamaran design

  • Solar powered

  • Barrier-guided trash pass way

  • Conveyor belt collecting trash

  • Device cost: 200-300k Euros

Side streams of Citarum river - German Startup Plastic Fischer

  • 60 cm depth stainless steel net supported by boom

  • Manual trash pick up by local army by boat

  • Side stream focused - low water speed + no water traffic

Bekasi river-One Earth One Ocean and Schwarz Group

  • Cleaning boats:See Hamster

  • Number of boats: 3

  • Donated by: Schwarz Group

  • Local operator: Waste4Change

  • Estimated catch (all waste): 600kg/day

Citarum river-US NGO Clean Currents Coalition (planning)

  • Funded by: Benioff Ocean Initiative & Coca-Cola Foundation

  • Led by: Greeneration Foundation (Indonesia NGO)

  • Device created by: Riverrecycle (Finland waste management Co.)

  • Automatic collection wheel lifting trash out

  • Strategically located nearby waste sorting facilities