STOP

This is the second post on my takeaways from the SCG Sustainable Development Symposium on 20 February 2020 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Towards the end of the Symposium, a presentation introducing Project STOP began with a short video clip of a coastal fishing community of Muncar, Banyuwangi in East Java. It showed enormous amount of plastic waste taking up the space of what should have been serene coastlines. Fishermen were seen pushing their fishing boats, through the beach of plastic, to the sea. The first thought in many people’s mind would, I guess, be along the line of irresponsible individuals not caring for the environment.

Yet, a few interviews showed that the people there did not have a choice. Waste collection system was very minimal. They had bins, but stuff in the bins went nowhere, making no difference for them where they threw plastic waste. For me, this was quite sad. It’s not that people did not know having waste next to their houses, next to the sea where they go out regularly to make a living is bad for their health and especially for their kids. But they just did not have a proper system that would take care of their waste.

This particular community did not face this problem alone. According to Project STOP, throughout Indonesia, only 45-50% of solid waste is collected. Around 1 million tonnes of waste leak into the water per year. Indonesian government has realised the problem and has made a bold and commendable move to reduce plastic waste by 70 percent. And this is where Project STOP came in.

Project STOP works with a number of organisations, local and central governments, and of course the local community to help design sustainable waste collection systems, and promote behaviour change in the areas. Project STOP is now at work in three regions in East Java and Bali.

The video at the beginning of the presentation was eye-opening to me. It illustrated how a simple supporting system like waste collection can play a big role in reducing plastic waste and marine debris.

Find out more about Project STOP at https://www.stopoceanplastics.com

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