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Why is Waste Handling Still Chaotic?

Garbage continues to be a problem in various regions in Indonesia. The management of waste management is still chaotic. Prigi Arisandi, Executive Director of Ecoton said, until today the government is still not serious about waste management.

Based on Ecoton data, only 60% of waste can be handled and transported. Supposedly, waste management should be completed at the village level. So that what gets carried away to TPS and TPA is residual waste that cannot be managed. “Residual waste is only about 7% which should be managed by the industry.”

Ecoton’s research shows that regulations on waste management at the regional level are still minimal. Of the 514 regencies and cities in Indonesia, it is recorded that 45% have local regulations on waste management and fees.

He said, it is necessary to encourage local governments to implement the concept of a zero waste city in waste management. Budget support also needs to be increased for waste management infrastructure.

Starting from there are areas that are making efforts to improve, such as in the City of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta. Since January 1 2023, the Yogyakarta City Government has appealed to the public to sort waste from their homes.

The Garbage Disposal Depot (TPS) only accepts organic waste. Inorganic waste is managed through a waste bank or similar group. This step is to support the zero inorganic waste program in Yogyakarta City.

Budhi, a resident of Umbulharjo District, Yogyakarta, has been sorting waste for the past five years. Sorting items that can be sold in the waste bank, such as plastic bottles, glass bottles and cardboard. Disposable plastic office used to be stored and used many times.

He fully supports the city government’s efforts. “We support this, considering that the issue of waste is already a crisis, right in Jogja until the TPA is closed due to overcrowding,” he said.

Even so, he said, this program was not well socialized. He knows only from social media.

“There is no socialization for a month, how prepared are the people who have to manage it. There are still many TPS with mixed waste. In addition to sorting waste, you need to get used to it and where to store it before selling it.”

Apart from that, the government also needs to provide information regarding solutions related to the management of inorganic waste that is not accepted by waste banks, such as cloth. Also started coaching organic waste management.

Garbage pandemic

“The river is an indicator if waste management (on land) is bad. Garbage is a silent pandemic,” said Prigi.

Garbage that enters the waters causes rivers in Indonesia to contain a lot of microplastics.

Data from the Ecoton Archipelago River Expedition Team (ESN) 2022 found that strategic rivers in five provinces were detected to have high microplastic content. Namely, in East Java (6.36 particles/liter), North Sumatra (5.20 particles/liter), West Sumatra (5.08 particles/liter), Bangka Belitung (4.97 particles/liter) and Central Sulawesi ( 4.17 particles/liter).

In his research, Ecoton also tested the content of microplastics in 68 rivers in various provinces. Meanwhile, 49.2% of microplastic contamination is fiber originating from the degradation of synthetic fabrics due to household waste such as washing cloth, laundry and the textile industry.

This content is also due to fabric waste scattered in the environment which is degraded due to natural processes. As much as 27.8% is a film (filament) from the degradation of thin and flexible plastic waste, such as single-use plastic packaging and plastic bottles.

Approximately 18.6% is fragments from the degradation of plastic waste such as multi-layer sachet packaging, bottle caps, shampoo and soap bottles. The remaining 4% is pellets and 0.4% foam .

“The government is not serious about waste management at all. This is what the next generation will pay dearly, because research has stated that microplastics have polluted the human stomach, blood and breast milk [breast milk].”

Ecoton urges the central and regional governments to make policies or strategies to solve waste problems and their management. “The government also needs to establish quality standards or threshold values ​​for microplastics in Indonesian river waters. Also restoring the environment and cleaning up plastic waste as the main source of microplastics.”

Data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, national waste generation reaches 68.5 million tonnes. “About 17.89% or 12 million tons of plastic waste in unsorted conditions and 8 million tons of paper waste,” said Rosa Vivien Ratnawati, Director General of Waste, Waste and Hazardous Toxic Material Management (PSLB3) in the KLHK’s year-end reflection.

Even the largest waste generation is from households with the largest composition of food waste.

He said, the achievement of reducing waste until 2021 is 15% and waste handling is 48%. To achieve the national strategic policy targets of 100% managed waste, -30% waste reduction and 70% waste management – the government is strengthening the Adipura policy. This can be done by strengthening regional strategic policies and building a national waste management information system (SIPSN).

The government also encourages a circular economy in the process of managing and utilizing waste at the level of producers or business entities. Until now, there have been 15 business entities implementing it and it has been proven that 1,145.5 tons of waste can be reduced.

“Waste industrialization also needs to be encouraged, because the profit can be IDR 1.44 trillion. Especially now that many young people are building waste management businesses,” he said.

Fund climate

In line with that, President Joko Widodo stated that funds from the Environmental Fund Management Agency (BPDLH) must be allocated to real activities related to the environment.

He mandated the focus of BPDLH fund allocation, namely, waste management and rehabilitation of mangroves and tropical rain forests.

“For the beginning, waste management is a priority. I have experience since the mayor until now, the garbage business has never been sorted out, 20 years ago it was started, until now it hasn’t been [finished],” he said last December.

In the early stages, the president gave directions so that waste matters would be a priority. The budget at BPDLH is encouraged to solve the waste problem so that it doesn’t pollute the sea, rivers, or cities.

“Using any system please. This must be over soon. The goods are real, the funds are there, but the business is not right ,” he said.

Siti Nurbaya, Minister of Environment and Forestry also said, for environmental funding synergy, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry is currently evaluating and consolidating activities in support of cross-sector cooperation.

“The role of the regional government is very important in increasing the role and capacity as beneficiaries and collaborators in the management of environmental funds,” he said.

Sri Mulyani, the Minister of Finance said, the government guarantees partner investment funds to BPDLH will be managed effectively, transparently and accountably.

Based on BPDLH data, this institution currently manages US$968.6 million or around Rp.14.52 trillion in funds through the BLU management scheme. These funds, he said, could be utilized by ministries and agencies, regional governments, communities and individuals to improve environmental quality.

Funds of that size, from reforestation funds, Green Climate Fund grants for the REDD+ RBP project, Ford Foundation grants through the community-based Terra fund program World Bank loans, mangroves for coastal resilience, and others.

“Accountable management of environmental funds with international-based governance, as climate crisis mitigation financing,” said Sri Mulyani

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