Indonesia Vows to Send Back Illegal Plastic Waste

JAKARTA, INDONESIA – Among the tons of paper that comes into Indonesia for processing from overseas are countless pieces of plastic.

“I found food packaging. That’s the most common. For example, the microwavable TV dinners, pet food, snacks, or trash from household items, soap or cleaning solutions,” said Prigi Arisandi, a documentary filmmaker in East Java.

As the founder of Ecoton, an environmental non-governmental organization in Indonesia, Arisandi wanted to find out how plastic waste from overseas can enter Indonesia.

“It’s on YouTube, it’s called Take Back!,” he said.

According to Arisandi, plastic waste can enter the country through imported used paper, the main material paper companies need to produce paper products. He has visited the country’s landfills and sorted through the plastic waste that had been taken in by trash collectors.

The Indonesian filmmaker says the plastic comes from developed countries, such as Australia, the United States, New Zealand and Canada.

Data from the Indonesian National Statistics Agency showed a 141% increase in plastic waste imports last year. Indonesia imported a total of 283,000 tons of plastic, the highest recorded number in the past 10 years.

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