Indonesia has a plan to deal with its plastic waste problem
The Indonesian army had to be called out to clear Bandung's rivers of plastic last year.
Image: The New Plastics Economy report
In Indonesia, plastic waste is a very modern-day enemy. It’s such a problem that, last year, the army was called in to scoop it out of the river in the country’s third-largest city of Bandung.
Soldiers were deployed on a barge and used nets to fish styrofoam food containers and plastic bags out of the water. “My current enemy is not a combat enemy. What I am fighting very hard now is rubbish, it is our biggest enemy,” Sergeant Sugito told the BBC.
An unwelcome sight for tourists in Bali
Image: REUTERS/Johannes P. Christo
Even the holiday hotspot of Bali isn’t safe from the plastic invasion, as tourists arriving on the beach at Sanur, Denpasar, last April had to pick their way through the debris.
Indonesia is second only to China as the world’s largest contributor to the ocean plastic problem - with four of its rivers among the top 20 pollutersglobally.
But it’s not only the army fighting back: the Indonesian government, in partnership with civil society and businesses, has made a bold step towards addressing plastic pollution - and hopes to set an example for others to follow.