BRISBANE, AAP – An ambitious project to slash plastic waste in Indonesia’s coastal waters by 70 per cent in the next four years has taken a big step.
The project comes as Bali’s iconic tourist beaches were again piled high with tonnes of plastic trash this holiday season and images of the unsightly rubbish lining the beaches were seen around the world.
Mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s philanthrophic organisation, the Minderoo Foundation, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indonesian government.
The MOU is to establish the Sea the Future Indonesia program that supports plastic recycling and aims to bring an end to ocean plastic polluting the archipelago nation.
The project, which will bring in multinational companies, includes pilot solutions to increase rates of plastic collection and assistance for local companies to build and operate large-scale recycling plants.
The goal of the project is to reduce plastic waste pollution by 70 per cent before 2025 and double plastic recycling rates.
The Minderoo Foundation’s chief operating officer for the initiative, Nakul Saran, admits its goals are ambitious.
He says the next six to 12 months will be spent securing financing and technical partners to bring a world-class recycling facility to Indonesia.
Mr Saran said the first plant was likely to be based in Java with plans to then scale up operations quickly.
“We are not trying to prove that recycling works, we know it works,” Mr Saran said.
Minderoo’s MOU was signed with the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs, with a joint working group to be set up to coordinate the pilot project.
Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, has welcomed the move to stop plastic pollution in Indonesia.
“Earlier this year our government made a commitment to embrace a sweeping, full-system-change approach to combating plastic waste and pollution.
“We need this change to preserve our pristine environment, waters and biodiversity on which the livelihoods of so many Indonesians depend. This partnership is another step in turning this commitment into action,” he said.
Mr Forrest said the initiative would turbo-charge other plastics collection and recycling initiatives in Indonesia.
Tonnes of rubbish washes up on Bali’s beaches at the start of year thanks to monsoonal and other weather conditions.
Photographs of plastics-laden beaches taint Bali’s image as an island paradise and authorities have expressed frustration at the yearly invasion of garbage.