Stemming the Flow of Indonesia's Plastic Pollution
Close to two-thirds of rivers in Indonesia are heavily polluted, according to the environment ministry. The hard work of Interceptor 001 doesn’t only aim to deliver cleaner and plastic-free rivers for Indonesia, but ultimately to close the tap on ocean plastic pollution. “Marine plastic debris is our common enemy,” said Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment. “We require extraordinary and integrated solutions to responsibly manage the waste in the river and in the ocean.” Eighty percent of riverine plastic pollution reaching the global ocean comes from 1,000 rivers. Most of these are small and flow through urban areas, according to a 2021 study. Floating booms can cut plastic that ends up in the ocean by up to ten times, according to a study co-authored by Muhammad Reza Cordova, ocean chemical and ecotoxicology researcher at the National Research and Innovation Agency in Jakarta. Cordova emphasised to China Dialogue Ocean, however, that to address the root causes means reducing plastic consumption and improving waste management. In the long run the country needs to scale up its waste management infrastructure. A lack of rubbish bins, and of waste collections, contributes to people’s prevailing habit of littering, he added.