Late afternoon on Tuesday, March 3, a full truck was parked in front of the Belle Maleo (B'Maleo), a building owned by the Association of Birdlife Indonesia and CV. Anak Burung Indonesia (ABI) which is involved in business deals with the communities. The truck contained recycled plastic, prepared to leave complete with uncut yellow ribbon attached to it. The program was a collaboration between Burung Indonesia and the Government of Pohuwato Regency, Gorontalo, in an effort to reduce plastic waste through a recycling approach. The first shipment uses sea transportation with 20 feet of cargo.
We are waiting for a group of Regent Pohuwato Syarif Mbuinga from West Popayato, about a 3 hours drive to Marisa City—the capital of Pohuwato Regency. Bahari Gobel, Head of Environmental Service of the Pohuwato Regency, had been at the location about an hour earlier, and then Irfan Saleh, Head of Research and Development Agency of the Pohuwato Regency. He said that the Regent's entourage had already gone to the location. Bahari Gobel and Irfan Saleh are two government figures who participated in initiating this waste recycling program in collaboration with Burung Indonesia.
The reason Burung Indonesia involved in the "war" against plastic was the realization that plastic pollution has killed more marine life and shorebirds. The program changed the old linear way of production: take, make, use, waste. Plastic is known to be made from petroleum. However, since the products were disposable, it resulted in a waste of natural resources. Recycling plastics not only solve the waste problem, but an example of a circular economy (take, make, use, recycle, make, use and so on) plastic can be used over and over again. The outcome of this process is we can save the use of natural resources.
Finally, the Regent's arrived. Without immediately getting out of his official car, smiled and shook the hands of the guests who greeted him warmly. The Regent took a moment to converse and then rushed to join the ceremony. “By saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, I hereby launch the first delivery of recycled plastic in cooperation with ABI, in collaboration with the Pohuwato Regional Government, supported by the Association of Birdlife Indonesia.” The news reporters captured the historic moment.
The program changed the old linear way of production: take, make, use, waste. Plastic is known to be made from petroleum. However, since the products were disposable, it resulted in a waste of natural resources. Recycling plastics not only solve the waste problem, but an example of a circular economy (take, make, use, recycle, make, use and so on) plastic can be used over and over again. The outcome of this process is we can save the use of natural resources.
This principle is the same as in paper recycling (paper is made from pulped trees), glass bottles from quartz sand, as well as other products. The raw materials derived from natural resources, then processed into—usually—single-use products which finally being thrown away once used. As a result, the environment bears the burden of piling waste from time to time in accordance with the growth of development and human population.
In the first year, plastic waste that has been and is in the process of being recycled was approximately 25,000 kilograms (25 tons). Plastic waste is collected by a number of waste banks assisted by the Environment Agency of Pohuwato Regency. The Waste Banks are:
- Bank sampah Molamahu;
- Bank sampah Mopio;
- Bank sampah Hidayatullah;
- Bank sampah Marisa Indah;
- Bank sampah Barakati;
- Bank sampah Pelangi;
- Bank sampah Pasar Marisa;
- Bank sampah Himalaya;
- Operasi satu hari tukar sampah dengan sembako setiap hari kamis;
- serta lewat acara Gema Panua.
The said waste banks are suppliers of plastic waste to be recycled at the Kota Madani, an integrated waste management unit. The waste they supply to the processing unit is obtained by purchasing, so that the waste bank managers and the communities have incentives for their efforts to collect scattered plastic waste from the field. In his remarks, the Regent appreciated the plastic recycling program that was launched a year ago because Pohuwato Regency is now able to handle its own plastic waste. In addition, the program is the first in Gorontalo Province.
Another important point is that in the future all involved parties hope to be financially independent as a business unit, the recycling program can survive and reach all towns and villages in Pohuwato Regency. We could write a dozen more articles concerning plastic waste, but that doesn't solve the problem itself even if it's only 1 gram of waste. Programs like this are realistic and doable. Let's do it! (MHS)