fbpx
PLASTIC MONSTER APPEARS AND THREATENS THE EARTH

PLASTIC MONSTER APPEARS AND THREATENS THE EARTH

Jakarta, 21st of July 2019. The current condition of waste in Indonesia is very tense. Of the 60 million tons of waste produced, 15 percent is plastic waste which not only floods the landfill, but also the ocean of Indonesia. Based on World Bank data in 2018, 87 coastal cities in Indonesia contribute 2 million tons of plastic waste into the ocean.

The amount and magnitude of the threat from plastic waste is illustrated through a monster figure, a great power that is ready to destroy the earth. The figure of a plastic monster in the form of a 4-meter sea creature emerged from the Jakarta sea and moved towards the heart of the capital city of Jakarta at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout (Bundaran HI).

The plastic monster march was the largest action on refusing single-use plastics in Indonesia, a joint movement of 48 civil society organisations in collaboration with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, followed by more than 1500 people. The march moved from the Hotel Indonesia roundabout (Bundaran HI) to the Taman Aspirasi Monas. The march would be chaired directly by Ms. Susi Pudjiastuti as the Minister of Maritime Affairs & Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia and the Advisor of Pandu Laut Nusantara.

The march aimed to invite public to declare the commitments they will carry out in their daily lives, such as refusing the use of single-use plastics, refusing plastic straws, choosing bulk rather than sachets, sorting out garbage at home, and cleaning up recyclable plastic waste before throwing them away.

The 49 civil society organisations in the march also aimed to unite the voices of the people in urging three things.

Firstly, Government to ban single-use plastics (namely plastic bags, plastic straws, Styrofoam, sachet and microbeads) to be applicable nationally.

Secondly, Government to improve waste management system such as (a) enforcing waste separation system from the source to end process, (b) supporting production of local packaging which are pro-environment, pro-local wisdom, and plastic-free.

Thirdly, Producers and corporations to be responsible of their waste by (a) taking back their packaging waste that they produce, (b) innovating in redesigning plastic packaging to be reusable and recyclable, (c) innovating in product delivery system so not being dependable on single-use plastics anymore.

 

“Environmental pollution, especially water pollution by plastic waste, is very worrying. Indonesia has had the title of the second largest waste contributor in the world, a very embarrassing predicate. To overcome this, President Joko Widodo has even issued Presidential Regulation No. 83 of 2018 on Marine Waste Management, this plastic waste is very dangerous because it will only degrade in tens or even hundreds of years. If Indonesians do not make efforts to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics, it is predicted that in 2030 there will be more plastic than fish in Indonesian waters. It’s time to switch from plastic bags to ganepo or cloth bags, stop using plastic straws or switch to using stainless straws or paper, and avoid using other plastic packaging. Let’s go towards a better Indonesia by reducing the use of single-use plastic, starting from ourselves.” – Susi Pudjiastuti, the Minister of Maritime Affairs & Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia.

“Plastic Monster is a figure born of millions of tons of accumulated plastic waste in the Indonesian ocean due to irresponsible hands. This figure is a frightening spectre for the survival of nature and humanity on Earth. The threat of Plastic Monster is a real threat that we are currently facing, Changing Indonesians’ behaviour to stop using single-use plastics is the main key to reduce the volume of waste in Indonesia. There is no other word than stopping single-use plastics.” – Bustar Maitar, Advisor of the Econusa Foundation.

“People need to be made aware that our daily lifestyle that produces a lot of garbage is actually building a terrifying giant monster that will ruin our own lives. This plastic monster is a common enemy that threatens our lives together, that’s why we also have to defeat them together. Each of us has their own weapons to defeat it, if the government is a weapon of policy, we as a weapon are changing lifestyles that do not use single-use plastics.” – Prita Laura, Chairperson of the Pandu Laut Nusantara.

“Single-use plastics are extra-evil monsters. Although it only accounts for less than 10% of national plastic production, single-use plastics contribute to the majority of pollution in the sea. Ironically plastic is a strong material that lasts hundreds of years, but is actually designed to be used for only 30 minutes and then discarded. This doesn’t make sense, and this should be ended.” – Tiza Mafira, Founder of the Gerakan Diet Kantong Plastik.

 

“In the Greenpeace report titled Sebuah Krisis Kenyamanan (A Comfort Crisis) launched last year, the business of fast-moving consumer goods, including food products, grew by 1-6 percent per year. This means that the volume of plastic packaging waste will continue to grow. Given the very low recycling rate, then there must be concrete action from producers and the government to control the supply of single-use plastics by implementing a circular economy specifically through the concept of reuse.” – Atha, Greenpeace Indonesia Campaigner.

“When collecting garbage in the waters of the Jakarta bay, Divers Clean Action found that 63% of non-organic waste is single-use plastics. Waste of shampoo, food, drinks, medicine packs, from decades ago are still often found in good condition in the ocean. When the production of this waste continues to increase and is not recycled, it is very likely that these single-use plastics into the ocean and end up being microplastics. In Bali we found 1 microplastic particle in 300 to 3000 litres of seawater and a pile of single-use plastic packaging on the coast reaching 30.50% to 74.89% of the total waste found, the high amount of plastic waste in Bali has the potential to damage Indonesian marine tourism.” – Swietenia Founder & Executive Director Divers Clean Action.

While specifically for the condition of Jakarta, “The state of Jakarta’s garbage-emergency is caused by the absence of enforcement on waste rules and policies both in national and local levels. More than 10 years ago, namely since the issuance of Law Number 18 of 2008 acknowledged that waste management was not in accordance with the methods and techniques of environmentally-friendly waste management which caused negative impacts on public health and the environment. Furthermore, even though nationally we have Government Regulation No. 81 of 2012 which requires producers to use production raw materials that can be reused and to take back waste from products and product packaging for reuse, also not yet running or implemented because the Ministry of Environment and Forestry has not issued a technical policy in accordance with the Government Regulation’s order. The same situation also occurs in Jakarta, where the Local Government is not maximally implementing Perda Number 3 of 2013 concerning Waste Management.” – Tubagus Soleh Ahmadi, WALHI Jakarta.

“Before it’s too late we have to determine whether or not we want to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Through the involvement of Indorelawan in the movement of plastic monsters we want to be able to accommodate the voices of those who want to be part of the solution. Let’s make a change together.” – Maritta Rastuti, Executive Director of Indorelawan.

 

Download press release here.

Download participant list here.

 

Supreme Court: Local Governments Can Ban Single-Use Plastics

Supreme Court: Local Governments Can Ban Single-Use Plastics

Jakarta, 17th of July 2019. On Thursday, 23rd of May 2019, the Supreme Court through the Court Decision Number 29 P/HUM/2019 decided to reject the judicial review from the Indonesian Plastic Recycling Association (ADUPI), CV Cahya Jaya, and PT Hartono Sinar Cemerlang Plasindo. The Supreme Court ruled that Bali Governor Regulation No. 97 of 2018 concerning Single-Use Plastics Ban is in accordance with higher regulations.

“The effort to avoid single-use plastics is a concrete step in reducing plastic waste according to Waste Management Act Number 18 of 2008, which is done by prohibiting, and/or limiting its production, distribution, sales, and/or use,” said Tiza Mafira, Executive Director of Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik.

This is in accordance with the principle of decentralisation in accordance with Local Government Act Number 23 of 2014 where the local government has the authority to make regional policies to regulate its own government affairs.

“Based on Government Regulation No. 81 of 2012 concerning Household Waste Management, provincial policies and strategies in waste management are stipulated by a Governor Regulation. This is an opportunity for other governors who have strong commitments like Bali to issue the same regulation. Hopefully the national government will also be exploring a similar opportunity,” explained Henri Subagiyo, Executive Director of the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL).

“This decision provides significant legal support for efforts to reduce plastic waste in Indonesia,” said Andri Gunawan Wibisana, Environmental Law Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia.

Based on various kinds of considerations, it is evident that the plastic bags, plastic straws, and Styrofoam ban is not contradictory with the Waste Management Act, Legal Drafting Act, Human Rights Act, and the Governmental Administration Act.

“We appreciate the judges for applying human rights law appropriately, including inserting our opinions into the ruling. Hopefully it will be a positive precedent for the realisation of a healthy environment,” said Executive Director of Amnesty International Indonesia, Usman Hamid.

In a press release distributed by the Bali Provincial Government, it was stated that with this Supreme Court Decision, all parties must comply with and implement the contents of the Governor of Bali Province Regulation No. 97 of 2018 to maintain the sanctity and harmony of Bali’s nature and its contents in accordance with the Vision of “Nangun Sat Kerthi Loka Bali” through the Development Pattern of Planned Universe towards the New Era of Bali.

The Bali Provincial Government and Krama Bali also gave their highest appreciation and gratitude to all parties who have shown a commitment to the preservation of the natural environment. In the press release, the Bali Provincial Government also stated that other local governments throughout Indonesia need not hesitate nor fear to make policy regulations to realise a clean, green and beautiful Indonesian nature.

This court decision is certainly a good precedent for other local governments that are dealing with the plastic pollution problem and plan to issue single-use plastics ban.

Download press release here.

Greenpeace Russia has discovered half a ton of plastic fragments on the coast of the Black Sea and the Azov Sea.

Greenpeace Russia has discovered half a ton of plastic fragments on the coast of the Black Sea and the Azov Sea.

In November 2018, Greenpeace experts assessed the level of plastic pollution in the Black and Azov Seas. On the beaches 13,000 fragments were found, ranging from tiny pieces of unknown origin to 100 kilogram ship ropes.

Locations of GP study

The main sources of pollution are tourists, waste from other countries brought by currents, and maritime shipping.

Most of the plastic found is determined to be single-use packaging or goods. In the Black Sea, the share of such plastic is almost 68%, on the Azov Sea – up to 90%. The main pollutant of the latter was bottles, and the Black Sea coast was filled with styrofoam.

“We have now witnessed that plastic pollution is a real problem for the Black and Azov seas. On the hundred-meter sections of the coast, we found from 435 to 3,501 pieces of plastic. Even the borders of the Utrish nature reserve are littered. We found 1,001 plastic pieces in one monitored area and 2,991 pieces in the other. This is mainly one-off goods, packaging and bags that are all trash we can consciously avoid. Today in Russia there is no regulations over plastic pollution of the environment. There are no holistic measures to prevent it. Greenpeace urges the Government of the Russian Federation to develop a national system for monitoring plastic contamination and approve a list of single-use goods, containers and packaging that should be banned step by step. We cannot resolve this issue otherwise,” says Alexander Ivannikov, an expert at the Zero Waste project of Greenpeace Russia.

Interestingly, the more difficult it was for people to have access to an area, the higher its level of plastic contamination was. This may be due to the fact that such areas are less likely to be cleaned, while debris is still washed ashore.

Single-use plastic items pollute the environment, decompose for hundreds of years and harm animals. Sea inhabitants and birds often become its victims, mistaking pieces of plastic for food or getting entangled in them. According to the British government, plastic ends up in stomachs of 31 species of marine mammals and 100 species of seabirds.

On the method

During the expedition, Greenpeace experts used the methodology for monitoring marine debris on the beaches, which was developed by the DeFishGear project. The data collected was one of the reasons for the European Commission to ban certain types of plastic products.

According to the methodology, Greenpeace experts chose hundred-meter areas (polygons): 5 – on the Black Sea coast and 3 – on the Sea of Azov. From the surface of polygons, visually distinguishable fragments of plastic were collected, their number was counted, they were weighed and sorted by purpose / type of product.

Shanghai begins new waste sorting era, as China eyes cleaner image

Shanghai begins new waste sorting era, as China eyes cleaner image

Recyclables such as plastic must be separated from wet garbage, dry garbage and hazardous waste under the new rules in Shanghai. Photo: AFP

 

  • The city’s ambitious waste and recycling rules took effect on Monday, aiming to emulate successes of comparable policies in Japan, Taiwan and California

  • President Xi Jinping has urged China – the world’s second-biggest waste producer after the United States – to sort rubbish better

At 9pm, Li Zhigang was sitting in front of his fruit shop on a bustling street in central Shanghai’s Xujiahui area, peeling the thin layers of plastic from rotten pears and mangoes.

“This is so much trouble!” he mumbled to himself while throwing the plastic into one trash can and the fruit into another.

In the past, Li simply threw away what could not be sold with the packaging on, but from July 1 he could be fined up to 200 yuan (about US$30) for doing so.

Like Li, many of the tens of millions of residents in the eastern Chinese city have been complaining in recent weeks that the introduction of compulsory household garbage sorting is making life difficult, but at the same time have been having to learn to do it.

Calls for garbage sorting have brought little progress in China in the past decade, but Shanghai is leading a fresh start for the world’s second-largest waste producer with its new municipal solid waste (MSW) regime, observers have said.

China generated 210 million tonnes of MSW in 2017, 48 million tonnes less than the United States, according to the World Bank’s What a Waste database.

“If we say China is now classifying its waste, then it’s Shanghai that is really doing it,” said Chen Liwen, a veteran environmentalist who has worked for non-governmental organisations devoted to waste classification for the past decade.

“It’s starting late, comparing with the US, Japan or Taiwan, but if it’s successful in such a megacity with such a huge population, it will mean a lot for the world,” she said.

A cleaner re-sorts household waste left at a residential facility in Shanghai. Photo: Alice Yan

Household waste in the city is now required to be sorted into four categories: wet garbage (household food), dry garbage (residual waste), recyclable waste and hazardous waste.

General rubbish bins that had previously taken all types of household waste were removed from buildings. Instead, residents were told to visit designated trash collection stations to dispose of different types of waste during designated periods of the day.

Companies and organisations flouting the new rules could be fined 50,000-500,000 yuan (US$7,000-70,000), while individual offenders risked a fine of 50-200 yuan.

The city’s urban management officers will be mainly responsible for identifying those who breach the rules.

Huang Rong, the municipal government’s deputy secretary general, said on Friday that nearly 14,000 inspections had been carried out around the city and more than 13,000 people had been warned on the issue since the regulations were announced at the start of the year.

As July 1’s enforcement of the rules approached, it became a much-discussed topic among Shanghainese people. A hashtag meaning “Shanghai residents almost driven crazy by garbage classification” was one of the most popular on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform.

“My daughter took a box of expired medicine from her workplace to the trash collection station near our home yesterday because she couldn’t find the local bin for hazardous waste,” Li said.

While the measures force a change of habits for most people, they bring opportunities for some.

Du Huanzheng, director of the Recycling Economy Institute at Tongji University, said waste sorting was crucial for China’s recycling industry.

“Without proper classification, a lot of garbage that can be recycled is burned, and that’s a pity,” he said. “After being classified, items suitable to be stored and transported can now be recycled.”

Shanghai’s refuse treatment plants deal with 19,300 tonnes of residual waste and 5,050 tonnes of kitchen waste every day, according to the municipal government. By contrast, only 3,300 tonnes of recyclables per day are collected at present.

Nationwide, the parcel delivery industry used more than 13 billion polypropylene woven bags, plastic bags and paper boxes as well as 330 million rolls of tape in 2016, but less than 20 per cent of this was recycled, according to a report by the State Post Bureau.

Prices of small sortable rubbish bins for home use have surged on e-commerce platforms, while bin makers are also developing smart models in response to new needs.

Some communities are deploying bins that people are required to sign in with their house number to use, and are equipped with a “big data analysis system”. The system records households have “actively participated” and which have not, so that neighbourhood management can publicise their addresses and make house visits, according to a report by Thepaper.cn.

In a residential community in Songjiang district, grocery store owner Nie Chuanguo has found something new to sell: a rubbish throwing service.

He has offered to visit homes, collect waste and throw it into the right bin at a designated time. He charges 30 yuan a month for those living on the ground and first floors, 40 yuan for those on the second and third, and 50 yuan for the fourth and fifth.

“This service will start from July 1. Many people have come to inquire about it,” he said.

According to Du, waste classification is not only about environmental impact or business opportunities. “Garbage sorting is an important part of a country’s soft power,” he said.

For China, it was an opportunity to improve its international reputation, he said. “In the past, Chinese people were rich and travelled abroad, but they threw rubbish wilfully, making foreigners not admit we are a respected powerhouse.”

He added: “It’s also related to 1.3 billion people’s health, since the current waste treatment methods – burying and burning – are not friendly to the environment.”

Shanghai’s part in tackling waste comes amid President Xi Jinping’s repeated calls for the country to sort waste better.

“For local officials, it is a political task,” said Chen, who heads a waste management programme in rural China called Zero Waste Villages.

Huang said the president had asked Shanghai in particular to set a good example in waste classification.

In March 2017, the central government set out plans for a standardised system and regulations for rubbish sorting by 2020, with a target for 46 major cities, including Shanghai, to recycle 35 per cent of their waste by then.

In early June, Xi issued a long statement calling for more action from local governments.

However, it was a long process that required input from individuals, government and enterprises, Du said.

“Japan took one generation to move to doing its waste sorting effectively, so we shouldn’t have the expectation that our initiative will succeed in several years,” Du said.

How China’s ban on plastic waste imports caused turmoil

“The lessons we can learn from Japan include carrying out campaigns again and again, and paying close attention to educating young pupils about rubbish classification.”

Chen echoed that Shanghai’s waste sorting frenzy now was only a beginning.

“What we can see now is that people are being pushed to sort waste by regulators, but what’s next? How shall we keep up the enthusiasm?” she asked.

She suggested that how well officials worked on garbage sorting should be included in their job appraisal, and that ultimately people should pay for waste disposal.

“The key to waste classification, going by international experience, is making polluters pay,” Chen said.

Most of Hong Kong and Taiwan’s dumped plastic bottles come from mainland

There is plenty of experience for Shanghai to learn from in California, where unrecyclable waste is charged for at twice the price of recyclables, and Taiwan, where people are charged only for disposal of residual waste, according to Chen.

Taiwan has one of the world’s most impressive recycling rates, with nearly 60 per cent of its waste between January and October last year having been recycled, according to the Taipei government.

The daily amount of garbage produced per person during that period was about 0.41kg – down substantially from 1.14kg in 1997 – the government said.

Hong Kong has tried to copy the Taipei model over the years but failed, with a recycling rate of MSW slightly above 30 per cent in recent years, according to official data.

The city has recently postponed a mandatory waste charging scheme until late 2020 at the earliest. Under its plan, 80 per cent of household waste will have to go into designated bags and will be priced at an average of 11 HK cents (1 US cent) per litre.

On Friday, Shanghai officials admitted that there were plenty of challenges involved in sorting and transport.

Zhang Lixin, deputy chief of the municipal housing administration, said: “Many property management companies fear the difficulties brought by garbage sorting or are reluctant to implement the new rules.”

The administration trained the heads of more than 200 companies across the city in April, he said.

“We do find that some cleaners and rubbish trucks mix the waste, despite residents being asked to throw different types in different bins,” said Deng Jianping, head of the city’s landscaping and city appearance administration – the government department spearheading the initiative.

In the interests of curbing such practices, they could face fines of up to 50,000 yuan or even have their licences revoked, he said.

Scrap Collector: Environmentalists criticize ‘narrow’ scope of G20 marine plastics goal

Scrap Collector: Environmentalists criticize ‘narrow’ scope of G20 marine plastics goal

Plus: Pacific Island nation to enact world’s first disposable diaper ban, and waste giant Biffa convicted of exporting household trash to China.

 

UPDATE: July 2, 2019: G20 members have set a goal of reducing additional marine plastic leakage to zero by 2050, according to a declaration released Saturday. The “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision” encourages countries to adopt a “comprehensive life-cycle approach” that addresses oean plastic pollution via “innovative solutions” and improved waste management — “while recognizing the important role of plastics for society.”

Activists criticized the goal’s distant target date and lack of legally-binding steps, as reported by Reuters — as well as its failure to take aim at plastics production.

“The G20’s final declaration shows that it considers the plastic pollution crisis through a narrow, end-of-pipe lens,” Sirine Rached, a global policy advocate at Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, said in a statement. “It only mentions marine impacts as if plastic pollution was not also in our freshwater, in our soils, in our air. It only seeks to improve waste management and reduce discharge of plastic to the oceans, instead of focusing on reducing the absurd amount of plastics in our economies.”

“Such narrow, end-of-pipe measures make no sense when we know that plastic production is set to increase exponentially in coming years,” she added. “Many politicians are trying to surf the wave of public concern around plastic pollution, but we’re seeing very little genuine leadership.”

Japan has lofty goals for the G20 summit, which kicks off today in Osaka — including the establishment of an international framework for addressing marine plastics. The issue was a focal point at a summit meeting in Karuizawa earlier this month, where G20 environment ministers agreed to share and promote best practices for reducing ocean plastic pollution, as reported by DW.

While G20 members are expected to endorse the deal this weekend, environmentalists stress that the framework — which lacks numerical objectives and timelines —  is only the first of many necessary steps toward mitigating marine litter.

“[G]iven the critical situation of ocean pollution with plastics, it is urgently needed to set up legally binding action plans with clear timelines and goals,” Greenpeace Japan’s Hiroaki Odachi told Agence France-Presse.

Japan’s own environmental record has also drawn scrutiny ahead of the summit. For all its recent rhetoric on plastics reduction, Japan (along with the U.S.) refused to sign last year’s G-7 Ocean Plastics Charter, which would have committed it to reusing, recycling or recovering all plastics by 2030. The country is the second largest generator per capita of plastic packaging waste (the U.S. is number one), according to a 2018 UN Environment reportAs reported by The Washington Post, approximately 60,000 tons of the world’s 12.7 million annual tons of marine plastics come from Japan.

“In a country where cleanliness and neat packaging have long been considered good service, almost everything, from single bananas to individual pieces of vegetables, pastries, pens and cosmetics is sold plastic-wrapped,” Alex Barreira and Haruka Nuga noted this week in the Post.

That love affair with plastics, however, might be fizzling. China’s scrap ban has left Japan (which previously exported 1.5 million tons of plastic scrap per year — mostly to China) with rapidly dwindling options.

The Japanese government has announced plans to expand domestic recycling infrastructure. Meanwhile, retailers will be required to charge for single-use plastic bags as early as next April, according to the Guardian — a move deemed inadequate by critics, who cite the existence of various nationwide bans on single-use plastics. Local governments are arguably taking stronger action: the town of Kameoka, for instance, will ban almost 800 retailers from handing out single-use plastic bags starting next year, while the village of Kamikatsu is aiming to become Japan’s first “zero waste” community by 2020.

 

AROUND THE WORLD

Pacific Island nation to implement world’s first disposable diaper ban — The Guardian

Japan may be positioning itself as a global leader in the fight against marine litter, but it’s another island nation that’s taking some of the bold steps toward eradicating plastic waste. Vanuatu, which has one of the world’s strictest single-use plastics bans, has announced a new ban on disposable diapers — believed to be the first of its kind.

The country was deemed a “champion” nation at a London meeting last week for its efforts in combating the climate and ocean pollution crises — but the reception back home hasn’t been quite as glowing. The proposed diaper ban has sparked outrage from various groups, who argue that the measure would set women — the country’s primary caregivers — back by decades.

But Vanuatu, which is waging an existential war against the ravages of climate change and rising sea levels, may have no choice, says the government.

“Vanuatu is safeguarding its future,” said Mike Masauvakalo of the ministry of foreign affairs. “Eventually, plastics find their way into the water and the food chain and at the end of the day, the people of Vanuatu end up consuming [them].”

“It is a long road ahead,” he added. “But knowing my country, we will work it out. Vanuatu is very vocal about the climate emergency. It is visible, we are living it.”

 

UK waste giant convicted of exporting “anything and everything” to China — Environment Agency Press Release

Biffa Waste Services, it appears, has been up to some rotten misdeeds. The UK waste management company was found guilty this week of violating overseas exports laws — specifically, for shipping seven 25-metric ton containers of household trash to China.

Exporting unsorted household waste from the UK to China — in this case, everything from used diapers to unused condoms to a 12-inch record by ’90s darlings Deee-Lite — has been illegal since 2006. Biffa, however, managed to circumvent that particular roadblock by slapping a “waste paper” label on its May and June 2015 shipments.

According to enforcement manager Sarah Mills, Biffa’s exports “contained a totally unacceptable level of contamination with other waste.”

“The waste contained offensive material likely to have been discarded by the receiving country, at great risk and cost to the environment and people,” she said in a statement.

Sentencing has been deferred until Sept. 27. The court was told that Biffa and the Environment Agency had agreed to a criminal penalty of £9,912 — approximately $12,560.

 

Article originally posted in WasteDive.

WordPress Video Lightbox Plugin