In the field: our observation mission in Bali and Jakarta.

The war on plastic waste is declared in Indonesia!

In this country, the 2nd most affected in the world by the scourge of plastic pollution, the government has set the goal of reducing waste production by 30% and marine plastic pollution by 70% by 2025.

At the same time, a growing number of civil society organizations are joining forces to create a Plastic Free Movement to reduce plastic discharges into the environment and raise awareness in local communities.

Through its MAPP (Mobula Against Plastic Pollution) project, The SeaCleaners is firmly in line with this dual governmental and community dynamic, and has undertaken to work in synergy with actors in the field to pool skills and fight more effectively.

It is within this framework that two members of our team, Alice DARONDEAU and Antoine ICHE, respectively environmental engineer in our Operational Division and development engineer at Manta Innovation, led an exploratory mission of 4 weeks in the field in Jakarta and in the region of Denpasar (Bali), where our first clean-up operations will take place.

Clean-ups at sea and on land, scouting, listening to needs, diagnosing the existing situation, exchanges with local players: here is the report on this “listen and learn” tour through 3 key moments.

Clean up of the mangrove of Denpasar with the NGO Sungai Watch

Founded in 2020 by Gary, Kelly and Sam Bencheghib in Bali, Sungai Watch now has 55 passionate “river warrior” volunteers working every day to create solutions to stop the flow of plastic pollution from going into the ocean. Through regular mangrove clean-ups, the design of simple trash barriers and the operation of a collection, sorting and upcycling system, they have created a scalable approach to tackling plastic pollution. They are on a mission to install 1,000 barriers by the end of 2023.

Alongside Sungai Watch volunteers, Alice and Antoine took part in a waste collection in the Denpasar mangroves to assess the situation on site, measure the extent of the pollution that is choking the region’s mangroves, and discuss how the MOBULA 8 can complement Sungai Watch’s land-based action with its water-based cleanup.

Result: 700 kilos of waste were collected in 2 hours!

Waste clean up at sea with the Indonesian Navy in Jakarta

On September 8, the Indonesian Navy officially launched the National Movement for a Clean Sea, which brings together many public authorities and institutions. The kick-off was spectacular: nothing less than the largest waste collection operation at sea in the country’s history, taking place simultaneously on 77 sites throughout Indonesia, including in small islands!

The SeaCleaners was honored to be invited to this event, and to meet with all Indonesian officials and governmental actors involved in this large-scale program.

The objective of the Movement is to federate and mobilize all the components of the nation to fight jointly and in a massive way against the problem of marine waste and to preserve the sea and its resources.

It will be based on two pillars:

  • The organization of regular floating waste collection activities on land and at sea by the National Navy.
  • The launch of a wave of awareness throughout Indonesia to “love the sea, don’t dirty it and keep it clean”, including the creation of Smart Houses next to the maritime bases, which will be places of education, awareness and dissemination of tools to teach fishing communities to preserve the marine ecosystem sustainably.

Inaugurated by the Minister for the Coordination of Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, accompanied by the Minister of Transport, Budi Karya Sumadi, Navy Admiral Yudo Margono, the Deputy Governor of Jakarta, and the Directors General of several ministries, the National Clean Sea Movement is directly inspired by the priorities of the President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo, who stated in 2014, “we must work as hard as possible to restore Indonesia as a maritime country. Oceans, seas, straits and bays are the future of our civilization. We have turned our back on the ocean for too long. It is now time for us to return to it.”

Visit of the waste management infrastructure in Gili Trawangan

The island of Gili Trawangan, near Lombok and Bali, is a small piece of land 2km long bordered by a white sand beach. Considered in the past as one of the most paradisiacal places in Indonesia, the island suffers today from a serious problem of plastic waste invasion, both on its coasts and on land.

Accompanied by the local association Gili Eco Trust, Alice and Antoine visited two sorting centers. The first one, opened in 2020 and financed by the Indonesian government, is not operational today, except for a part of the building where glass is transformed into building bricks.

In the second center, currently in operation, our SeaCleaners observers were able to see the current methods of sorting and compacting waste and discuss possible ways of improvement to optimize the reuse of materials and their recovery.

They next visited the largest (but unfortunately not the only) open-air dump on Gili Trawangan, where the island’s waste has been accumulating for 30 years. The landfill is now the size of a soccer field and 6 meters high. Alice and Antoine participated in the collection of glass waste, which is converted on on site into bricks.

The lessons learned from this ‘listen and learn’ tour will allow us in the short term to define the most effective means of action to optimize existing actions and define partnerships with the most involved local actors in the field, within the framework of the MAPP project.

To be continued….