Indonesians take part to save the ocean at Ancol
To coincide with the World Oceans Conference, UNIC Jakarta, in collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, organized a beach cleanup on the shores of Ancol beach, Jakarta’s main coastline destination. Collected in bags and weighed, a total of 145 kilos of trash was reclaimed from the sand and rock with help from both UN and ministerial staff, as well as numerous volunteers. The beach cleanup was an opportunity to highlight an environmental dilemma of gargantuan proportions; the plastic contamination of Indonesia’s treasured oceans.
Indonesia remains the second largest polluter of plastic worldwide, flooding its surrounding oceans with approximately 1.6 million tons of plastic waste annually. Two-thirds of global, land-borne marine pollution originates from just twenty rivers, the majority of which are located in Asia. Of those twenty, four Indonesian rivers make the list, located in both Java and Sumatra. Plastic, in its usual stubborn and persistent manner, takes centuries to degrade, finding its way into the most unwanted of places. A study in 2015 showed that over 25% of fish samples caught in Indonesian waters are filled with plastic and debris in their systems and by 2050, it is projected that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
It is clear that a lot of work needs to be done. One of the greatest challenges for this country is the lack of an adequate, nation-wide waste management system that can effectively sort and recycle waste, an initiative that has yet to find the support it needs to be implemented. In the meantime, it is up to every individual to take steps in tackling this problem by adjusting our consumer behavior, such as eliminating single-use plastics from our shopping practices. The beach cleanup reflects this drive. Rolling up our sleeves and taking matters in our own hands demonstrates a bottom-up approach that encourages civil participation, a crucial component in the fight against plastic waste in our oceans.
Volunteers pulling plastic from the rocks of Ancol beach.
Plastics takes centuries to degrade, collecting on coastlines and in oceans
The "Orange Brigade," Jakarta's munincipal heroes who keeps the streets clean, seen here collecting plastic
Hundreds of volunteers took part in removing plastic to support the goals of the Ocean Conference.
A total of 145 kilograms of trash collected, whereby 80% was plastic.