Kendari, SE Sulawesi, (ANTARA News) - The local government and community members in Wakatobi District, Southeast Sulawesi Province, commemorated National Waste Care Day by picking up some 50 tons of marine debris, a local government official stated.

The marine debris was collected from various coastal areas in the marine national park of Wakatobi, including the sub-districts of Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko, Head of Wakatobi District's Environment Office Jemuna stated here on Friday.

The movement for cleaning up Wakatobi in commemoration of this year`s National Waste Care Day was deemed compulsory, and it engaged the local government officials, police and military personnel, as well as housewives and students, he revealed.

In Wangi-Wangi Island, the local residents, including housewives, were able to collect 25 to 30 tons of plastic waste, while in the sub-districts of Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko, the community members could collect 20 to 25 tons of trash, Jemuna remarked.

Meanwhile, speaking in connection with the floating marine debris frequently spotted in the waters of Wakatobi, former head of Wakatobi District Hugua said he was unaware whether it was discarded by local people, vessels passing through the waters, or were trans-border pollutants.

"We do not need to point our fingers at each other. Instead, the best strategy for solving this problem is how we can drastically reduce the use of plastic waste and clean up our sea by engaging all elements in our community," he emphasized.

In November last year, Indonesia had come under the spotlight of the mainstream media in the country and abroad after a dead sperm whale that washed ashore in the marine national park of Wakatobi was found to contain 5.9 kilograms of plastic waste in its stomach.

The death of this ill-fated sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) was widely published and broadcast by reputable international news media, including Associated Press, Cable News Network (CNN), BBC, ABC, The Guardian, and National Geographic.

Washed ashore Kapota Isle in Wakatobi District on November 19, 2018, this dead 9.5-meter-long marine mammal signals alarm bells, as the marine debris at this archipelagic country`s waters has seriously threatened the existence of its marine life.

In fact, Indonesia is not just home to sperm whales but also several other marine species, including sea turtles. Six of the seven living species of sea turtles that scientists recognize are found in the country.

Reporting by Abdul Azis Senong, Rahmad Nasution

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Sri Haryati
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