, , - Posted on July 24, 2019

Plastic Monster appears and threatens Earth

Break Free From Plastic
A group of activists in Indonesia fighting for ban of single-use plastics

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.

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