For one whole month of October, the Indonesian government embarked on a massive cleanup campaign to clear the ocean of debris. The National Movement for the Love of the Sea Month (Gernas BCL) managed to nab 67 tons of marine debris.
On November 1, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime and investment affairs, and Wahyu Sakti Trenggono, minister of maritime affairs and fisheries, said the campaign was a success in mobilizing 1,477 fishermen all over Indonesia to collect marine debris in coastal areas, including in Java, Bali, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua. By protecting the ocean, Luhut said everyone, including the fishermen, benefited. He had also invited the Indonesian Navy to join in the campaign.
Trenggono said the fishermen could exchange the collected debris for money equivalent to the price of per kg of fish. He hoped the Gernas BCL can be an annual event to promote awareness of the importance of the marine ecosystem and the harm that plastic and other debris are causing. 80 percent of marine debris originated from land and 1.29 million tons of plastic waste ended up in the sea.
The most debris, 10.9 tons, was collected at Padang, West Sumatra. All debris collected would be sorted accordingly and those found suitable would be sent for recycling. Trenggono said this campaign, once it becomes an annual event, will provide an alternative source of income for fishermen when they cannot go out to sea because of bad weather.
Indonesia has set the ambitious target to reduce marine plastic waste by 70 percent by 2025. In 2021, the marine plastic waste was reduced by 28.5 percent.
Top photo credit: iStock/ Olezzo. Stock photo of a beach cleanup.