Untrashing the Planet by Paul Connett

Paul Connett is a graduate of Cambridge University and holds a Ph.D in chemistry from Dartmouth College. He is an expert in the topics of Zero Waste and Water Fluoridation. Connett published two books, The Zero Waste Solution: Untrashing the Planet, One Community at a Time with a foreword by actor Jeremy Irons and The Case Against Fluoride.

Several days ago, on the 11th of July, Connett gave a public talk titled “Untrashing the Planet” at CoHive D.Lab, Menteng, Central Jakarta. The public talk was a part of his visitation in Indonesia, after the NGO Gathering (10th of July) and before his going to Bandung to visit some subdistricts that have implemented zero waste lifestyle & policy under the guidance of Yayasan Pengembangan Biosains dan Bioteknologi (YPBB) (11th of July).

Connett divided his public talk into two sessions. The first session was about zero waste strategy and the second one was about arguments against incineration and related technologies. Before getting into the first session, he also provided us with an explanation of the difference between 20th century and 21st century. In the 20th century, people were more focused on waste management, with the question “How do we get rid of our waste efficiently with minimum damage to our health and the environment?” While in the 21st century, we should be focusing on resource management, “How do we handle our discarded resources in ways which do not deprive future generations of some, if not all, of their value?” He believed that the waste problem will not be solved with magic machines, but with better organisation, better education and better industrial design.

The zero waste strategy, according to him, is about ten steps to zero waste, namely: 1) source separation; 2) door-to-door collection; 3) composting; 4) recycling; 5) reuse, repair, and research centres (community centres); 6) economic incentives; 7) more waste reduction initiatives; 8a) the residual separation facility; 8b) the zero waste research centre; 9) better industrial design; and 10) a transitionary landfill for biologically stabilised dirty organic fraction.

In the topic of arguments against incineration and related technologies, Connett explained that incineration: 1) is the most expensive way of handling waste; 2) doesn’t get rid of landfills because they produce a toxic ash which has to be landfilled; 3) is a waste of energy; 4) is inflexible and long-term contracts trap communities into uneconomic situations; and 5) is a huge wasted opportunity to fight climate change; 6) puts many highly toxic and persistent substances into the air.

Connett closed the presentation with three excellent and inspiring final messages: 1) to citizens: don’t let the experts take your common sense away; 2) to politicians: put your faith back in people; and 3) to activists: have fun!

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Discussing Water Quality Management and Water Pollution Control Strategy

Friday (19/1), Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) in conjunction with Van Vollenhoven Institute (VVI) concluded their “Making Environmental Regulation Work for People” (MERWP) project by conducting the final seminar under the title of “Discussing Water Quality Management and Water Pollution Control Strategy”. In implementation, MERWP project is supported by International Development Law Organization (IDLO)

Six speakers were present to discuss the abovementioned topic comprehensively. Sri Parwati Murwanti Budisusanti, Director of Water Pollution Control from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Republic of Indonesia (MoEF), presented Indonesian Water Quality Outlook mainly the prominent goal on improving water quality and reducing water pollutant load of 15 Priority Watersheds. She further deplored the strategy to meet the goal: 1) water pollution control for non-point sources is done through increasing the availability and usage of waste water management system as well as reducing pollutant load, and 2) for point sources the undertaken measures are improving compliance of industry, preparing water quality standards, and supervision.

Read moreDiscussing Water Quality Management and Water Pollution Control Strategy

LGI Midterm Workshop

To implement the Action Plan (RTL) which has been agreed on 24-25 October 2013, LGI researcher, SETAPAK Partners; ICEL and SEKNAS FITRA held a “LGI Midterm Workshop” on Friday-Saturday (17-18) January 2014. The meeting aimed to determine the assessment development (test of access and fill in the paperworks along with  verification tools), conducted by LGI researchers  and SETAPAK Partners at the District Level, as well as the identification of obstacles encountered in the field, solutions, best practices, and follow-up plan.

National Conference on Forest Governance and Land

ICEL, FITRA and ICW launch the results of a study related to weak governance of forest and land in the district, forest-related corruption and land, as well as budgetary policy, through the National Conference on Land and Forest Governance 2013. The event was held at Aryaduta on December 17-20 and is divided into several categories and included participants from various groups such as the Ministry/State Agencies, NGOs, local government, etc. The national conference is part of a series of national dissemination agenda that will be followed up to the regions to be used by more parties. As well as a marker that the strategic role of civil society to support the acceleration of forest and land governance.

Information Access Training for Forest Governance in NTB

December 12-13, 2013, ICEL with FWI organized “Training in Promoting Access to Information for Optimization of Forest Governance in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).” This training aimed to optimize the implementation of information disclosure in the forestry sector in NTB.
Participants of this training involved 25 representatives of the public, practitioners, and civil society organizations engaged in the forestry sector. After the training, the participants did information request  to government agencies within the scope of  NTB Government. In addition, to maintain the continuity of information disclosure advocacy in the forestry sector in NTB, participants formed Transparency Forum which committed to escort and disseminate public information disclosure to others.

Information Dispute Training

With the aim of increasing the capacity of civil society in accessing environmental information and maintaining their rights, ICEL held an Information Dispute Training for several national and local CSOs engaged in the environmental field. The CSOs present included: Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI), WALHI Sumatra, Pilar Nusantara (Pinus) South Sumatra, JARI Borneo West, Sampan, Wahana Bumi Hijau (WBH) South Sumatra and East Kalimantan JATAM.
The training was held in December 4-6, 2013, at the Amaris Hotel Juanda and facilitated directly by ICEL KIP Team. Wiwiek Awiati, a senior researcher of ICEL, participated and provided training materials regarding mediation.
Abu Mas’ud, a participant representing Western Borneo JARI highlighted his increased knowledge and understanding through attendance: “This training provides a common understanding, that the disputed information is not something that so scary,”


Focus Group Discussion (FGD) on the Preparation of Training Module

Focus Group Discussion (FGD) on the Preparation of Training Module for Public Information Services and Case Management Training Modules Diversity in the Court were held on 27 November 2013.
The purpose of the training was to increase capacity of the court in giving public information services relating to the case of biodiversity and handling biodiversity cases. The training was given to the Kampar District Court, Bangkinang, Blangkejeren and Tapaktuan.
Alongside ICEL, other parties involved in the FGD included USAID – Changes for Justice (C4J), Research and Development and Education and Training Law and Justice of the Supreme Court.

A Quick Trip to London

Delegates from ICEL, alongside more than 1000 participants representing Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Government from 60 countries gathered in London for the Open Government Partnership Summit (Oct 30th-Nov 1st). This year’s annual summit aimed to address the challenges to opennes with sessions focusing on five working groups: natural resources, fiscal transparency, open data, engaging citizens, and parliamentary, as well as discussion on issues such as reflection on OGP, cooperation of civil society and government, Independant Reporting Mechanism, etc. ICEL’s key focus during the Summit was environmental information, therefore all sessions in the natural resources working group , including Land Transparency, Extractive Industries, Infrastructure, as well as Proactive Transparency were attended by the ICEL delegation.

Community Advocacy

ICEL assisted the community in Serang, Banten to advocate the Ciujung River pollution case.  PT IKPP (Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper), which disposes its waste to the Ciujung River, had been ordered to conduct a mandatory environmental audit based on the fact that the industry has high risks and does not comply with the law.  On 3 October 2013, ICEL, local community organisations and impacted community members had a meeting with the Head of Environmental Agency, Serang Regency, to discuss the PT IKPP compliance in implementing the audit’s recommendations. The activity continued with a meeting with Ahmad Soleh (a member of Commission IV, Serang Regency House of Representative) to share the advocacy strategy regarding the environmental audit of PT IKPP.  ICEL had a key role in ensuring the meetings resulted in positive environmental outcomes for the Ciujung River case.