PISCES launches “Living Labs” to address plastics pollution in Indonesia

INDONESIA – The Partnership for Plastics in Indonesian Society (PISCES) is setting up ‘Living Labs’ initiative to curb plastic pollution.

PISCES is a £3.8 million (US$4.8 million) project led by Brunel University London, UK – as part of a larger 2020 £20 million (US$25.2 million) round of funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund.

The project involves contributions by an interdisciplinary group of experts from universities, research institutions and technical bodies across the UK, Indonesia and Asia, creating an international team to create “hope spots” in Indonesia’s battle against plastic waste.

Starting with Banyuwangi, East Java, the first Living Lab will identify the most abundant plastic litter in the region and educate locals on its damages while finding means of reduction.

PISCES plans to eventually roll out living labs to every province nationwide, with the second and third planned for Bali and East Nusa Tenggara.

Professor Susan Jobling of Brunel University London, director at PISCES says: “We want to help Indonesia be the first nation worldwide to introduce a sweeping, cross-value chain approach to combat plastic waste and pollution.

“This will induce a wave of change that addresses plastic pollution at the source. We hope it will spark greater collaboration and commitment from other countries.

“It will protect marine and freshwater ecosystems, improve fisheries and tourism, strengthen local economies and transform city governance.”

The team will develop ways to ‘avoid, reduce, reuse, and recycle’ plastic waste. This means shifting from single-use plastic packaging such as dry food sachets, plastic bags and takeaway food containers to reusable, refillable, or returnable packaging.

And since Banyuwangi has no rubbish collection service, they’ll also focus on finding efficient ways to collect, sort and process plastic waste and look for plastic alternatives.

The initiative comes at a time when Indonesia produces 3.2 million tonnes of unmanaged plastic waste a year, of which about 1.29 million tonnes end up in the sea, according to UNEP.

In addition, approximately 10 billion plastic carry bags, equal to 85,000 tonnes, are released into the local environment each year.

In 2017, the government of Indonesia adopted Presidential Decree No.97/2017 on National Policy & Strategy on Management of Household Waste and Household-like Waste (JAKSTRANAS), and Presidential Decree No.83/2018 on Marine Debris Management (Plan of Action on Marine Plastic Debris 2017–2025).

The implementation of these Presidential Decrees aims to provide holistic and practical actions to accelerate the reduction of plastic pollution from land-based sources.

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