Top plastic polluter Indonesia mobilises 20,000 people to clean up mess

In Gorontalo, a province in northern Sulawesi Island, 500 citizens gathered to clean the beach. Free fish was handed out, too, to help coastal villages cope with a recent decline in fish catches. Image: Gorontalo Food Resilience Agency/Mongabay Indonesia. “We need to keep this river clean,” says Muhammad Yusuf, a fisheries official from Padang, the capital of the Indonesian province of West Sumatra. “We’ve got to keep people from dumping trash here.” Nearby, where the river meets the ocean, Padang’s idyllic beaches have become an eyesore, littered with plastic trash. “We need to make better environmental decisions,” Yusuf says, picking a plastic bag from the water. Yusuf was one of some 20,000 Indonesians who participated in “Face the Sea,” a one-day event held simultaneously in 76 locations across the country on Aug. 19. The purpose of the event was to draw attention to the alarming spread of plastic waste in the oceans, and the need for better approaches to address the burgeoning crisis. Indonesia is the world’s second-largest plastic polluter, after China. It produces 3.2 million tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste a year, 1.29 million tonnes of which ends up in the sea. Some 10 billion plastic bags in […]

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