Indonesia’s imams are joining the fight against plastic bags

Widodo Indonesia UN 2018

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (UNIC Jakarta, 2018)

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Rosamond Hutt, Formative Content

In monsoon season, thousands of metric tons of plastic debris wash ashore on the Indonesian island of Bali. The situation was so bad in December 2017 that the local government declared a “trash emergency” on the island’s most popular tourist beaches.

It’s a stark reminder of the world’s marine pollution problem: every year, an estimated 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean.

Indonesia is the second-biggest contributor to ocean plastic after China, with some estimates suggesting it is the source of about 10% of global plastic pollution. Four of the country’s rivers are among the 20 most polluted in the world in terms of plastic waste.

The Indonesian government says it will reduce marine waste by 70% by 2025 and has pledged to spend up to $1 billion a year on cleaning up its rivers and seas.

Now it has enlisted the help of the country’s two largest Islamic organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, which together have more than 100 million followers.

In a new initiative, clerics from NU and Muhammadiyah will raise awareness about plastic waste and encourage their followers to switch to reusable bags.

Indonesia’s 260 million population uses an estimated 9.8 billion plastic bags per year – many of which wash into rivers and end up in the ocean, according to Indonesian environment and forestry ministry figures reported by the Jakarta Post.

The initiative follows NU’s launch of a program broadcast online in which clerics connect waste management with religious norms in their sermons.

Image: Statista

The designations employed and the presentation of material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion on the part of the World Economic Forum concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Spreading through the ecosystem

Single-use plastics, in the form of plastic bags, cups, straws, bottles and cutlery, are part of daily life in Indonesia. At the same time, levels of awareness in the country about recycling and the environmental impact of plastic are low.

A video shared on social media of a diver swimming through garbage off the island of Nusa Penida near Bali brought Indonesia’s struggle against plastic waste to a wider audience.

The world’s largest archipelago is home to a large part of the Coral Triangle, one of the most diverse marine habitats on Earth. But plastic pollution is a major threat to these coral reef ecosystems, which provide food, income and protection from storms to millions and are attracting growing numbers of tourists.

If the global problem continues unchecked, there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Birds, turtles, fish and other ocean creatures swallow it or become entangled in it. The plastic moves up the food chain and eventually finds its way onto our plates.

The behaviour of consumers everywhere needs to change. Getting religious leaders to preach on the problem of plastic waste is just one way of nudging people to change their habits.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

A top economist shares 3 ways leaders can help economies recover

An EU Summit without purpose

State aid: Commission approves €400 million of public support for very high-speed networks in Spain

Primary Healthcare vs Specialization Careers, how to promote PHC to the Young Health Workforce?

Refugee crisis update: EU fails to relocate immigrants from Greece and Italy

Two peacekeepers killed in an attack against UN convoy in Mali

Here’s why the tech sector could be the next target for Chinese investment in Africa

Traditional knowledge at ‘core’ of indigenous heritage, and ‘must be protected’, says UN Forum

Ukraine jet crashes in Iran, killing 176: UN chief offers deepest condolences

The first-ever climate telethon has raised $2.6 million for new forests

Closing the loop: Commission delivers on Circular Economy Action Plan

Antitrust: Commission publishes findings of evaluation on the Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation

Gig economy: Employment Committee MEPs want to boost workers’ rights

UN chief calls for ‘green and clean’ development in message for Africa Industrialization Day

COVID vaccination campaign. What are the challenges?

Parliament seals 2014 EU budget and the spending ceiling until 2020

What is an immunity passport and could it work?

Business is a crucial partner in solving the mental health challenge

These countries have the highest minimum wages

Political solutions ‘prerequisite to sustainable peace’, Lacroix tells Security Council

Researchers have invented a brick that can build itself

Will Turkey abandon the refugee deal and risk losing a bonanza of money?

Draghi to lay his print on long term ECB policies prior to exiting next year

The growing cyber-risk to our electricity grids – and what to do about it

Northern Bahamas ravaged by ‘disaster of epic proportions’ as UN releases $1 million in emergency funds

Visa liberalisation: Commission reports on fulfilment of visa-free requirements by Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries

IMF’s Lagarde to Peoples of the world: You have to work more for the banks!

Could play be a game-changer for the world’s forests?

“The Belt and Road Initiative aims to promote peace, development and stability”, Ambassador Zhang of the Chinese Mission to EU highlights from European Business Summit 2018

COVID-19: Commission provides guidance on EU passenger rights

Changing how we produce and consume: New Circular Economy Action Plan shows the way to a climate-neutral, competitive economy of empowered consumers

Rights defenders jailed in Bahrain and UAE should be released unconditionally, UN urges

Elections results: Austerity’s black to prevail in the new multicolored German government

Mental health in a pandemic: what to do to ease the burden on people with disabilities?

European Innovation Council Fund: first equity investments of €178 million in breakthrough innovations

‘Severe’ new US asylum restrictions will put vulnerable families at risk, UN refugee agency says

Schaeuble wants IMF out and bailouts ‘a la carte’ with Germany only to gain

Rise in number of children killed, maimed and recruited in conflict: UN report

“Unequivocal support” for the people of Bulgaria in their legitimate demands

State aid: Commission approves €3 billion French scheme to provide debt and capital support to companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak

This heroic doctor is waging war on rape and the stigma around it

6 ways social innovators are harnessing 4IR technologies for social change

Children are forgetting the names for plants and animals

State aid: Commission approves €108 million Danish aid measure to support coronavirus-related research and development activities of Bavarian Nordic

High-tech or ‘high-touch’: UK survey gives clues to the jobs of the future

A multipolar world brings back the national champions

A record number of people will need help worldwide during 2020: Global Humanitarian Overview

Mali: Two peacekeepers dead after dawn attack, several injured – UN Mission

Climate Change: a challenge yet to be tackled in medical schools

Will Merkel ever steer the EU migration Titanic and restore her power in Germany?

EU leaders let tax-evaders untouched

Commission proposes fishing opportunities in the Atlantic and North Sea for 2019

Deepening Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union: Commission takes stock of progress

A Sting Exclusive: “Digital iron curtain makes no sense in 5G era”, by China’s Ambassador to EU Mr. Zhang Ming

North Koreans trapped in ‘vicious cycle of deprivation, corruption, repression’ and endemic bribery: UN human rights office

“Access denied”: the Greek health system under pressure

End ‘shame, isolation and segregation’ of fistula sufferers, urges UN reproductive health chief

Outgoing UN official praises Iraq’s ‘exemplary peaceful transfer of power’ at the top

Long-term exposure to air pollution is like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day

EU farm policy reform: Council must be more flexible – we cannot waste more time

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s