Labuan Bajo, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - The Environment and Forestry Ministry has asked religious leaders in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, to help tackle the problem of waste by promoting the “Indonesian Waste Donation and Collector Movement (Gradasi).”

"The government cannot work alone. We must overcome this plastic waste problem together, so along with religious leaders, we invite the people to process waste,” director general of solid waste, hazardous waste, and hazardous substances management at the ministry Rosa Vivien Ratnawati said here on Friday.

The ministry, together with the national coordination team for marine debris handling (TKN PSL) supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is applying a religious approach to change community behavior and promote reducing, managing, and sorting waste that can drive a circular economy.

Ratnawati said that waste handling in Labuan Bajo, as one of the super-priority tourism destinations, is being carried out in stages, from upstream to downstream.

At the upstream level, the communities sort and collect waste then, the collected waste is purchased by an off-taker or a buyer to drive the economic wheel, she explained.

Cooperating with religious leaders in waste management is suitable because Indonesian society is religious, she said.

"Pastors, kyais (Islamic teachers), ustads (Muslim preachers), please remind the congregation to sort the garbage at home. There are organic and inorganic (waste); then take them to the mosque or church for the waste alms/collector movement," she appealed.

The launch of the Gradasi movement was held at the West Manggarai district head's office and was marked by the symbolic handover of waste donation boxes and waste management guidebooks to houses of worship and schools that are piloting the movement in Labuan Bajo.

Overall, five churches, five mosques, and five schools received the waste donation boxes.

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Translator: Fransiska N, Kenzu T
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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