Last month, members of the Gili Eco Trust foundation travelled to Bali to join the ROLE Foundation’s 3rd annual conference and debate regarding the ‘Zero Waste to Ocean’ debate.
Indonesia is the 2nd largest global contributor to plastic in our oceans. More than 250 people from various organizations and initiatives all over the world, including representatives of the Gili Eco Trust NGO, joined together in the Zero Waste to Oceans – Community Environment & Skills Center to discuss and learn more about who is responsible. Eight speakers from different associations in Bali spoke during the conference.
Jane Fisher from IWP (Indonesia’s Waste Platform) started off the debate with an important question, “Who is responsible?”
More often than not, plastic and packaging producers insist the blame is on the irresponsible consumer of their product whilst instead, they should be taking responsibility for the materials they produce. More than 500 companies in Bali alone are using single-use plastics that cannot currently be recycled, and one main reason recyclers won’t take on such single-use plastics is down to its extremely low recyclable value.
To achieve Indonesia’s commitment to reducing plastic waste in the ocean by 30% by 2025, it is essential that the Government puts more pressure on these corporations and take legal actions accordingly. Using the term Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), industries should be taking responsibility for their products throughout their entire life-cycle.
Piet Van Zyl, from Positive Impact Forever, explained that it was difficult for the locals to make a connection between their waste (mis)management (throwing everything in rivers) and actual marine waste. He also stressed the fact that ‘zero waste’ doesn’t exist, everybody is making waste even if it’s only a little bit. Recycling is not the answer and there is no “magic bin” (social acceptance of disposing of your rubbish in a bin thinking that now it has been dealt with). He finished stating that “Reducing marine waste by 30% before 2025 is progress, however, it is not a final achievement”.
So how can we stay positive through all this chaos?
Dr. Surya Anaya (Komunitas Peduli Sampah Bali), Christian Fritz (ecoSmart hub) and Dwi Jayanthi (Plastic Detox) showed many single-use plastic alternatives that can be introduced daily, explaining that there are many different solutions to reduce the use of plastic: metal boxes for take-away, reusable bottles, alternatives to plastic straws etc. Raza Helmi from No Plastic Indonesia highlighted the influencing impact of social media to stop using disposable products. Things like metal straws, reusable cups and bags have started to become very popular amongst influencers all over the world, and thus affecting and improving the mindsets of teenagers and social media users across the globe. They all stress how easy it is to take small steps and make responsible choices to reduce the problem, especially with single-use plastic – even for those who are more reluctant and don’t want to lose their convenient consumer habits.
Following the conference, small debates were held amongst members to determine the roles of the government action over marine plastic waste along with stalls from environmental entrepreneurs and sustainable alternatives and solutions to the problem with plastic. The Gili Eco Trust had a popup eco market stall to show some of the campaigns we continue to work with on Gili Trawangan to forward motions towards a zero-waste-to-oceans approach.
To keep following the incredible work of ROLE Foundation check out the ROLE foundation’s official website.