Jusuf Kalla appreciates Nahdlatul Ulama`s recommendations on plastic waste reduction

Jusuf Kalla  appreciates Nahdlatul Ulama`s recommendations on plastic waste reduction

Vice President Jusuf Kalla beats a drum to mark the conclusion of the Nahdlatul Ulama`s (NU`s) National Meeting of Ulemas and Conference at Miftahul Huda Al-Azhar Islamic Boarding School in Citangkolo, Banjar City, West Java, on Friday (March 1, 2019). (ANTARA FOTO/Adeng Bustomi/aww).

Banjar Patroman, W Java, (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla officially concluded the Nahdlatul Ulama`s (NU`s) National Meeting of Ulemas and Conference here on Friday by appreciating a recommendation highlighting the importance of reducing plastic waste for environmental conservation and preservation.

To this end, Kalla urged the conference`s participants to stop using plastic containers and bottles designed for one-time use. Instead, they were encouraged to use glass cups and glass coffee mugs because they could be reused.

"So, to resolve this problem of plastic waste, please return to using glass bottles or others that can be washed again and again. And when you go out for coffee, please ask for a glass cup," he said, adding that with a total population of around 260 million people, Indonesia is currently the second biggest contributor to the world`s plastic waste after China.

The fact that coffee enthusiasts have always been given plastic cups instead of glass mugs only adds to the volume of plastic waste in Indonesia, Kalla said.

Antara noted that plastic waste has, since decades, undoubtedly become a major problem in Indonesia amid the government`s serious endeavor to deal with the menace by highlighting its detrimental impacts on the country`s environmental sustainability.

Plastic waste, which has a serious impact on the quality of soil and water and may threaten the existence of living creatures, is closely related to the amount of the trash produced and used by Indonesians every day.

According to Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya, some 9.8 billion plastic bags are used in Indonesia every year, and almost 95 percent of them will end up as waste. The ministry`s waste management directorate also estimated that the total number of plastic straws used by Indonesians every day reaches some 93 million, increasing from nine percent in 1995 to 16 percent this year.

To address this problem, the Indonesian Government is formulating a national action plan, which has five main pillars: behavior change; suppress land-based pollution; suppress sea-based pollution; suppress plastic production and use; and improve financing mechanisms, policy reform, and law enforcement.

However, plastic waste is not just a problem in Indonesia. Instead, it has become a global challenge, as many other countries across the world also face the same problem or may also contribute to marine pollution.

As the world`s largest archipelagic state situated between two oceans, Indonesia is viewed by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry`s Director General for ASEAN Cooperation Jose Tavares as a "meeting point" of the movement of trans-border pollutants.

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 contained 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 signaled 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 several other marine species as well, including sea turtles. Six of the seven living species of sea turtles that scientists recognize are found in the country.

Reporting by Fransiska Ninditya, Rahmad Nasution