The Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs held "Monitoring and Controlling Marine Debris Workshop" in Jakarta on Wednesday (26/10). (Photo courtesy of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs)

Joining Hands to Reduce Marine Debris


OCTOBER 31, 2016

Jakarta. The participants of "Monitoring and Controlling Marine Debris Workshop" held by the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs at the Millenium Hotel in Jakarta on Wednesday (26/10) seek to join hands in reducing land-based waste — the primary source of marine debris.

The workshop was part of the ministry's contribution to the government's "mental revolution" policy and aimed at finding solutions for waste reduction.

Among the speakers were Dr. Sakdullah of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Nina van Toulon of the Indonesian Waste Platform (IWP), University of Indonesia lecturer Dr. Sumengen Sutomo and Charlotte Verburg, a researcher from the University of Twente. The workshop was opened by Deputy Minister for Human Resources, Science and Technology Safri Burhanuddin.

So far, the attempts to reduce waste undertaken by the government agencies, think tanks, corporations and civil society have been done sporadically and with no central coordination.

"There already are grassroot organizations, but we need a common direction and we need to be empowered," Nina said. Her think tank, IWP, has been working with the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Ministry for Environment and Forestry in nurturing cross-sector collaboration for waste management.

Head of the Indonesian Solid Waste Association Sri Bebassari said that all stakeholders must unite and discuss solutions together.

"We have to build our networks and make sure that our solutions are clear," she said .

Lack of Scientific Data

Another factor causing minimal progress in waste reduction is the lack of scientific research determining the moves that should be undertaken and insufficient monitoring of the outcomes of existing policies.

The workshop's speakers relied on a study led by Dr. Jenna R. Jambeck of the IWP, according to which marine debris results from both the maritime and, even more significantly, inland activities which are the source of 80 percent of solid waste in the oceans. Nearly 90 percent of the waste is plastic waste.

"We still don't have much scientific data on how much plastic waste we produce, therefore, it is difficult for us to monitor it," Sakdullah said.

Indonesia is the world's second largest producer of plastic waste. The IWP researchers are in the process of establishing Indonesian Waste and Monitoring Database.

The workshop has followed by focus group discussions in which the participants are set to analyze the Honolulu Strategy, a global platform for the prevention, reduction, and management of marine debris. They will present recommendations for policymakers during the National Marine Plastic Pollution Summit in Jakarta, Tuesday (01/11) to Thursday, held by the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs.