Indonesia encourages international cooperation to prevent plastic waste in the ocean

"Indonesia encourages international cooperation to prevent plastic waste in the ocean"

Nairobi - "Plastic waste is difficult to decompose and endangers marine lifes and ecosystems, including coral reefs," the Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya said in a workshop on plastic waste and micro-plastic in the oceans at a side event of the 2nd UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) in Nairobi (26/5/16).

Reducing the use of plastic is one way to prevent the continued increase of plastic waste. "Reduce the use of plastic, it would be fantastic," Siti Nurbaya explained followed by the big applause from the audience.

Delivering her keynote address, the Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry explained the challenges faced and efforts made by the Indonesian government to handle plastic waste in the ocean. She emphasized that the Indonesian government continues to encourage community involvement in reducing garbage, including through waste management movement 2020. "The Indonesian government targets to reduce waste by 20 percent and manage 70 percent of the waste in 380 cities within five years", Siti Nurbaya said.

Seas and oceans are inter-connected. It is impossible to prevent the movement of sea waves that make garbage from various parts of the world intermingle and spread. Therefore, the plastic waste entering Indonesian territorial waters is not only from within the country, but also from other regions.

As an archipelagic country with over 17,000 islands and a sea area four times greater than its land area, Indonesia receives abundance of plastic waste from other areas that are drifting through the oceans. "Most of the waste in the oceans resulted from land-based activities", Minister Nurbaya continued.

During the side event discussion, she also presented various Indonesian government programs such as pay for your plastic bag campaign, producer responsibility, Adipura award (award for clean regencies and cities), Kalpataru award (award for individuals who are actively engaged in natural conservation), cleaning up beaches and national parks.

Some experts predict, if not managed properly, the amount of plastic waste in the oceans will be more than the amount of fish in 2050. Until 2015, the amount plastic waste worldwide –floating and drawn into the ocean as well as sank off the coasts and oceans-- is estimated at around 86 million tons.

At the end of the UNEA-2, the UNEA resolution on plastic waste reduction and micro-plastic in the oceans and the sustainable management of reefs is to be adopted.