Jakarta, 27 August 2019 – In 2017-2018 imports of plastic waste by Indonesian plastic and paper recycling companies increased dramatically, more than 150% compared to previous years. Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, has returned more than 80 containers of mixed plastic waste mainly from the United States, which entered their country. Indonesia must seriously stop importing plastic waste and plastic-contaminated paper and immediately review its import policy on plastic waste. Environmental activists recommend the Indonesian government to follow China’s steps in setting contaminants in imported waste by 0.5% for two years.
Earlier this year, Indonesia returned more than 50 plastic waste containers imported by several plastic and paper factories in Batam, Banten, Karawang, Tangerang and Surabaya. Observations conducted by environmental activists over the past six months have shown an increase in air pollution from burning plastic waste and in several complaints as well as conflicts in the community due to contamination from unwanted imported plastic waste. With the encouragement of reports from civil society and residents in the vicinity of informal landfill sites, a wave of re-exports of more than 350 imported plastic waste containers this month underscores the seriousness of Indonesia in
the eyes of the world.
Indonesia produces around 9.5 million tons of plastic waste annually. The import of plastic waste in 2018 shows a trading volume of approximately 320,000 tons with a value of about USD 90 million. However, observations by environmental activists in the field indicate that around 20-40% of the imported waste is not appropriately managed and disposed of in the environment.
“WALHI appreciates the fast action of the Customs to send back more than 350 imported waste containers containing pollutants, including B3 (toxic, hazardous substances) to the country of origin. For the sake of people’s safety and the environment, the President needs to support this performance in the form of total cessation of waste shipments to Indonesia. That way, Indonesia has the capacity and a reliable mechanism to prevent the entry of dangerous contaminants into the country,” said Nur Hidayati, WALHI’s National Executive.
“Imported plastic that cannot be recycled, mostly will be burned. Burning plastics spread toxic fumes and leaves ashes with high dioxin concentration that enters the food chain and the lungs of residents, especially children,” said Yuyun Ismawati, from Nexus3/BaliFokus Foundation. “Some additives used in all types of plastics are recognized as carcinogenic chemicals and are banned in developed countries. Recycling plastic that contains B3 into another product means recycling the poison. Imported plastic should be included in the LarTas (Limited Ban) list so that Indonesia can control imports of non-B3 waste more tightly.”
“Almost all of the paper companies that we monitored misused their import licenses because they’ve imported plastic-contaminated paper scrap and trade it to the public. Even worse, they dump it on the riverbanks and former sand mining sites,” said Prigi Arisandi from Ecoton.
“Low-value plastic scrap waste generally burned and sorted recycled waste discharged into the environment without further treatment. Liquid waste from 12 paper industries in East Java Province that imported paper scrap also released microplastic into the Brantas River. As a result, the raw water source of the water supply company (PDAM) and 80% of the Brantas River fish samples contained microplastics in their guts. Burning unwanted imported plastic waste for tofu factory as fuel, and regarded this as the solution to manage wastes, created new problems. Released toxic gas containing dioxin and furan, causing health problems for the community, especially children, with the risk of respiratory illnesses, miscarriages, decreased intelligence, and even cancer,” explained Prigi.
“The direction of reforming the importation policy of waste and or scrap must be directed at stopping the import of waste and or scrap waste. The initial step to remove barriers to law enforcement in terms of the definition of waste and or scrap. The clarity of the definition is the beginning needed to prevent the import of waste or rubbish,” said Fajri Fadhilah from ICEL. “Furthermore, the President must ensure the alignment of rules on the importation of waste and or scrap among various types of legislation. Additionally, sanctions against violations of imported waste and or scrap must be done openly to the public.”
In some areas, we found that entrepreneurs from China became investors or partnered with local people to establish home business plastic recycling whose licensing was in doubt. Local governments must monitor and evaluate the existence of a home business plastic recycling in their respective areas.
In various places in Jabodetabek and East Java, AZWI activists also found land contaminated with remnants of various sizes of plastic, whether burned or not, polluting the soil, agricultural land, and water bodies. Cleaning toxic contaminants from plastic pollution is not easy, not cheap, and requires the seriousness of the government.
Microplastic and plastic fiber is also commonly found in fish in Indonesia, in bottled drinking water, in salts, and even in human feces. The state must guarantee the right of citizens to live in a clean and healthy environment.
AZWI Recommendations for the Government of the Republic of Indonesia:
1. Reviewing policies and regulations regarding the importation of waste and paper, especially plastics and paper scraps, to limit contaminants or contamination of imported plastic/paper waste and scrap by 0.5%;
2. Limiting certain types of imported plastics scrap, and only in the form of pellets, or only require minimal treatment/processing and/or ready to be used for production, and gradually stopping all imports of plastic waste;
3. Prohibiting importing producers from transferring or trading imported waste to anyone;
4. Importing producers must be responsible for cleaning up plastic pollution caused by changing hands, being sold and being ‘donated’ to other parties and the public, including checking the levels of dioxins and furans in the air, soil and water, as well as clearing the land from the ash from burning plastic waste and managing it in accordance with hazardous waste management regulations;
5. Reviewing the permits of companies importing plastics and paper parlors, whether according to the licenses given and their practices do not pollute the environment;
6. Setting limits, at the end of 2020 as the final limit for the import of dirty plastic waste into Indonesia, following the Basel COP-14 amendment agreement in early May 2019;
7. Limiting the import volume of scrap only to a maximum of 50% of the currently installed/available factory capacity;
8. Imports of non-hazardous waste must be included in the List of Limited and Prohibitions (LarTas) and removed from the Customs Green Line;
9. Prohibit the use of hazardous materials as additives in plastic production and plastic recycling;
10.Information about the source of plastic wastes and its potential for recycling must be available in an integrated manner to meet the need of the domestic industry. Also, public information related to import quota data, importer companies and the realization of the amount of plastic and paper waste imports must be accessible to the public;
11.The quota for importing plastic waste must be limited, the production and consumption of domestic plastic packaging must also be drastically reduced;
12.Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) must be implemented and monitored;
13.To reduce the risk of report manipulation, surveyor companies that verify the import and export of B3 and non-B3 waste must be added and not monopolized by PT Surveyor Indonesia and Sucofindo;
14.Strictly prohibit the burning of plastic waste and avoid incineration technology to treat plastic waste to prevent and reduce the pollution of dioxins which found in chicken eggs and soil at disposal sites; and
15.Affected communities must get free medical examinations and treatment from
polluting companies and importers of waste.
AZWI (Alliance Zero Waste Indonesia) is a joint organization that works to encourage the implementation of the zero waste concept correctly with programs and initiatives that support the concept of waste management hierarchy, material life cycle, and sustainable production and consumption. AZWI was initiated by BaliFokus / Nexus3 Foundation, YPBB Association, Indonesian Society of Plastic Bag Diet Association, WALHI National, Greenpeace Indonesia, Indonesia Center For Environmental Law (ICEL), Ecoton
Foundation, Zero Waste Community, and Bali Center for Environmental Education (PPLH) Bali.
Wahana Lingkungan Hidup (WALHI) is an environmental organization in Indonesia located in 28 provinces and has 473 members of the organization throughout the territory of Indonesia. Walhi works at the grassroots to advocate environmental cases (www.walhi.or.id)
Ecoton is a non-profit organization that aims to promote environmental justice for present and future generations, especially in sustainable wetland management.
ICEL is an independent non-governmental organization for environmental law, involved in advocacy and community empowerment
BaliFokus/Nexus3 an Indonesian non-governmental organization working to improve the community’s capacity, quality of life and advocating a toxics-free environment together with all stakeholders in sustainable way. www.balifokus.asia
For immediate release
This is AZWI’s official release dated 27 August 2019 at 17:00 Western Indonesia Time.
Yuyun Ismawati, Nexus3/BaliFokus, HP/WA: +44-7538-768-707, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prigi Arisandi, Ecoton, HP/WA: +62-817-503-3042, E: email@example.com
Nur Hidayati, WALHI, HP/WA : +62-813-1610-1154, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fajri Fadhilah, ICEL, HP/WA: +62 812-8317-4014, E: email@example.com
Calls on waste take back
MANILA, Philippines (August 15, 2019)—Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced that they will stop export of recyclable waste amid rising global plastic pollution concern and pushback from Asian countries who are at the receiving end of the waste trade.
Green groups in and around the region are wary of the pronouncement that can be used as an opening to push for waste-to-energy (WtE) incineration which the Australian government has been silently supporting. They are also pushing the government to take back waste that were already shipped to Asian countries.
Jane Bremmer, Coordinator, Zero Waste Australia (National Toxics Network): “The Prime Minister’s announcement and Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) support for a ban on waste exports should be cautiously welcomed and is long overdue following the embarrassing revelations of Australian illegal waste dumping in Southeast Asia. However, it seems certain that the announcement is designed to distract from a major government push to burn Australia’s waste in polluting incinerators: an industry it quietly supports. Waste-to-energy incineration has no place in a sustainable zero waste management and circular economy agenda. Burning finite resources in our residual waste stream—predominantly single-use, non-recyclable, fossil fuel-based plastic waste—is not only highly polluting but entrenches a linear economy, the very cause of global climate, pollution and health disasters and is the antithesis of a sustainable circular economy.”
Contact: Jane Bremmer, +610 3262387; firstname.lastname@example.org
Enzo Favoino, Scientific Coordinator, Zero Waste Europe: “While we welcome Australia’s move to ban waste export, we are strongly against any plans by the federal government to use this to justify waste-to-energy incineration in the hope that it will power Australian homes. Burning plastics is one of the largest contributors to climate change, and energetic efficiencies of incinerators are appallingly low, let alone where heat finds little or no use. In Europe, a climate correction factor had to be adopted to artificially change calculation of energy efficiency and falsely show higher energy efficiency where heat is to no use, as it would be the case in most situations in Australia. However, Europe has disincentivized support to new incineration projects in the last few years, since reliance on incineration may be counterproductive for the ambitious recycling and reuse targets as defined in the Circular Economy Package. Most recently, a study in Nordic countries is showing that these countries are not on track to meet EU’s recycling target because of heavy reliance on incineration. Australia should learn from the mistakes of Europe and not invest in incineration. Reusing and recycling saves remarkably more energy than what may be retrieved through incineration, and given the remarkably low energetic efficiency of incinerators, waste of energy is a more appropriate term to use than waste to energy.”
Contact: Enzo Favoino, +39 335 355446; email@example.com
Beau Baconguis, Plastics Campaigner of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific and Break Free From Plastic Asia Pacific coordinator: “There is a clear link between waste dumping by the Global North and the promotion of false solutions such as incineration to the waste problem in developing countries. Asia is now standing up against this injustice. Moreover, communities in our region, as well as in the global north, have demonstrated that the solution to the plastic waste problem is Zero Waste and that involves plastic waste reduction, alternative delivery systems, and ecological waste management programs. Governments need to listen more to its people rather than the profit-driven corporations peddling non-solutions.”
Contact: Beau Baconguis, +63 917 8715257, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yuyun Ismawati, Alliance for Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI) and co-founder & Senior Advisor of BaliFokus/Nexus3 Foundation: “We call for the Consulate General of Australia in Surabaya to apologize for saying that the Indonesian government approved Australia’s sending of nasty scrap. Our government never approved such importation. We also ask the Australian ports to improve and strengthen their monitoring and the work of the surveyors who confirm the impurities and content of “recyclables” inside containers that are sent out of Australia. Finally, we call on the exporting and importing companies to clean the messy dumpsites they have created in Indonesia and the rest of Asia. We also call for the Australian government to collaborate with the Indonesian government to use safe technology to treat historical plastic waste in dumpsites and avoid incineration.”
Contact: Yuyun Ismawati, +447583768707, email@example.com
Mageswari Sangaralingam, Consumers Association of Penang (Malaysia): “The Malaysian government announced in May that it will send back Australian plastic waste because it was too contaminated to recycle or had been falsely labelled and smuggled in. Now that the Australian PM made pronouncement to stop waste export, the Australian government must take back waste that has already been shipped to Malaysia. We want the Australian government to clearly state their plans and timelines in cleaning up their mess (waste take back) and in stopping waste export. Further, in the future we want assurances that wastes are not relabelled and exported as commodities or fuel.”
Contact: Mageswari Sangaralingam, +60128782706, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jed Alegado, Communications Officer, Break Free From Plastic, email@example.com | +63 917-6070248
Sherma Benosa, Communications Officer, GAIA Asia Pacific, firstname.lastname@example.org | +63 917-8157570
Sonia Astudillo, Communications Officer, GAIA Asia Pacific, email@example.com | +63 917-5969286
Alliance for Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI) is an alliance of organizations and concerned individuals, campaigning to promote a correct term of the Zero Waste approach to enforce the existing activities, programs and initiatives that have already implemented in many Indonesian cities considering waste management hierarchy concept, material life cycle, and circular economy. https://www.aliansizerowaste.id/
Nexus3 Foundation (formerly known as BaliFokus) is a non-governmental organization working to improve community’s capacity, quality of life and advocating a toxics-free environment together with all stakeholders in sustainable way. https://www.balifokus.asia/
Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) focuses on sustainable and ethical consumption and challenges current aggressive advertising industry that is unfettered and shapes people’s consumption to lifestyles and behavior that is unsustainable, unethical, and inequitable. https://consumer.org.my/
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration. www.no-burn.org
National Toxics Network is a community-based network working to ensure a toxic-free future for all. It is a national network giving a voice to community and environmental organizations across Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. https://ntn.org.au/
Zero Waste Europe is a fast-growing movement of communities, local leaders, businesses, experts, influencers, and other “change agents” working towards the vision of eliminating waste in our society. https://zerowasteeurope.eu/
12th August 2019
The Prime Minister’s announcement and COAG support for a ban on waste exports should be cautiously welcomed and is long overdue following the embarrassing revelations of Australian illegal waste dumping in South East Asia. However, it seems certain that the announcement is designed to distract from a major government push to burn Australia’s waste in polluting incinerators: an industry it quietly supports. As noted by some media reports on the announcement, the government “was exploring using waste in energy plants to power Australian homes.”
The National Toxics Network, through their lead campaign group, ‘Zero Waste Australia’ welcomes the Prime Minister’s support for an Australian recycling industry and a great leap forward towards a Circular Economy, where finite resources are reused, composted or recycled back into our materials production systems.
“The Prime Minister and COAG however must put the protection of our climate, health and environment ahead of global corporate industrial interests within the waste management sector that are driving dangerous waste to energy incinerators into Australia.
Waste to energy incineration has no place in a sustainable zero waste management and circular economy agenda. Burning finite resources in our residual waste stream – predominantly single use, non- recyclable, fossil fuel-based plastic waste – is not only highly polluting but entrenches a linear economy, the very cause of global climate, pollution and health disasters and is the antithesis of a sustainable circular economy.
Yet Australian state governments are fast tracking approvals for this industrial threat without adequate climate, health and environmental impact assessment processes, without any social licence to operate and without safeguards for vulnerable local governments.
It is a scandal that the waste to energy incineration sector is being allowed to take scarce renewable energy funds and grants from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for an industry more toxic and climate polluting per unit of energy than coal, oil and gas. Australia is at risk of becoming the waste burning capital of the global south as this industry looks for new markets in vulnerable countries while the European Union and United States remove subsidies and support for waste to energy incinerators due to the adverse impact it has on the recycling sector and policies for a circular economy.
The announcement by the Prime Minister and COAG must be treated with scepticism unless they strengthen their mandate with a ban on the incineration of waste in Australia and the export of all types of Processed Engineered Fuel, and other ‘stealthy’ waste classifications to other countries, to bring Australia into line with international best practice waste management policy from comparable countries.” states Jane Bremmer, Coordinator Zero Waste Australia.
For more information – Jane Bremmer 0432 041 397, Jo Immig – 02 66871 527
The garbage piled up on the streets of Chennai. Photo by Shreyaa R
The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) and the Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to kickstart the Zero Waste Chennai project, which is to be implemented for the first time in the city.
Speaking to Indianexpress.com about the MoU, Vamsi Shankar Kapilavai, a researcher at CAG says, “There is an emphasis for managing waste in a decentralised manner in Chennai since the two landfills, Kodungaiyur and Perungudi which are currently being used by the Greater Chennai Corporation have reached their maximum capacity, following which the idea for Zero Waste Chennai was conceived.”
The programme aims to individually cover all 15 zones in the city which comprise of 200 wards in total, following the success of the pilot which was implemented in Ward 100, Anna Nagar, earlier this month. Kapilavai says that they had conducted door to door campaigns during the pilot and is confident about the project.
Elaborating on the MoU, Kapilavai said that there are very few cities in India which have a decentralized waste management system and with this MoU, Chennai has now joined their ranks.
Managing waste in a decentralized manner involves dividing the waste management system into sub-systems among the 15 zones in Chennai, with each ward being able to manage the waste generated within the ward itself. This is where the Zero Waste Chennai programme kicks in.
“We break the system down into three parts – wet waste or organic waste, dry waste or non-biodegradable waste and sanitary waste. Our main target is to recycle 100 per cent of the wet waste through composting and 70 per cent of the dry waste. That part of the dry waste which cannot be recycled will have to be changed through design or by asking the producers to take back their products”, says Kapilavai. Currently, multi-layered plastic items which cannot be recycled are sent to incinerators and burnt, which is something that Zero Waste Chennai aims to change. As far as sanitary waste is concerned, they are being sent to the landfills since there are no facilities available to recycle sanitary napkins and diapers now.
“Either the design has to be changed or other sustainable menstruation methods need to be practised for managing sanitary waste”, he said.
CAG will be responsible for planning and managing the programme while the Greater Chennai Corporation will handle the execution. “Since we do not have the manpower to implement a programme of this scale, we will cross-check the implementation and monitor their performance through a review meeting which will be held once in two weeks”, he says.
Since this is the first time that waste segregation is being implemented in the city on a large scale, Kapilavai said that every morning, one woman, termed as ‘Animator’ under the Swacch Bharat Mission will accompany a tricycle on its rounds as it collects waste from 250 households a day. “Each ward has one animator and her task is to educate the residents about the segregation of waste and its importance and teach them to segregate waste”.
At present, CAG is focusing on ward 100 while the Greater Chennai Corporation is focusing on developing its infrastructure and getting them back on track for Zero Waste Chennai. Kapilavai says that once the system is in place, it will be handed over to the zonal officers to implement in their respective wards.
Going forward, Kapilavai says that apartment complexes should soon have their own waste management systems in places before getting a permit for construction. “An apartment which has more than 50 flats is considered to be a bulk waste generator, so as per the rule, they need to have their own waste management system in place. We are in talks with the Greater Chennai Corporation to implement this”, says the researcher.
While changing the mindset of people could be an arduous task, Kapilavai said that with continuous education, follow up and perseverance, waste segregation will become ingrained into the lives of the people. “It is all about ground contact”, he concluded.
Article originally posted in Indian Express.