Badung (ANTARA) - The government is aiming to reduce 38.5 percent of sea waste by the end of 2022 as part of its larger goal of removing 70 percent of marine debris by 2025.

Stakeholders from the central government, regional governments, community groups, and the Navy are currently collaborating in picking up garbage from the sea to achieve the goal, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, said.

"The target is that in 2022, we can reduce 38.5 percent of marine waste. So, this is a process, and I really appreciate the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry who made the Love of the Sea (Month) program," he remarked in Nusa Dua, Badung, Bali, on Thursday.

Pandjaitan said that the “National Initiative of Love of the Sea Month (BCL)” is a program launched by the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry to reduce waste in the sea by involving fishermen.

The movement launched in 14 coastal areas of Indonesia for a full month in October has involved at least 1,447 fishermen. So far, 67 tons of garbage has been successfully transported by fishermen over a period of almost one month, the ministry reported.

He responded positively to the initiative, which provides fishermen the alternative to gather trash from the sea when they cannot fish due to bad weather.

“One kilo of plastic waste (paid with) one kilo of fish. (So that) our fishermen are not suffering; at the same time, they are cleaning the sea," Minister Pandjaitan said.

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Meanwhile, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono said that 80 percent of marine debris in Indonesia comes from land. Of that waste, 30 percent is plastic waste.

"Every year, 1.29 million tons of plastic waste that (got dragged) by tidal waves enters Indonesian waters and contributes to the marine debris population," he added.

He said that the Love of the Sea Month is a concrete measure by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries to educate the public, especially fishing groups, and urge them to contribute to maintaining marine ecosystems.

“The Love of the Sea Month compels fishermen to play an active role in keeping the sea healthy by picking up trash in the sea. During the period of one month in one year, fishermen go to the sea to collect garbage in the sea. The price of taking garbage at sea by fishermen is equivalent to the lowest price per kilogram in their respective regions," he informed.

So far, the Love of the Sea Month program has taken place in Banda Aceh, Medan, Padang, Tanjungpinang, Serang, Cirebon, Cilacap, Kubu Raya, Balikpapan, Kendari, Manado, Sorong, Badung, and Merauke.

"From our records, the most active location is Padang city, which managed to collect 10.9 tons of waste," Trenggono informed.

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Translator: Genta T M, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Suharto
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