The problem of plastic waste in Indonesia
Leakage of plastic waste into the environment in Indonesia is amongst the highest in the world. In 2017, the Indonesian government introduced an ambitious target to reduce marine plastic debris by 70% by 2025. Yet social, behavioural, economic, political and infrastructural challenges hamper progress across the country's 17,000 islands.
PISCES is a £3.8 million project led by Brunel University – as part of a larger £20 million round of GCRF funding – that will involve an international multi-disciplinary team to create ‘hope spots’ in Indonesia’s battle against plastic waste.
It aims to bring together political, environmental, economic, technical and social disciplines to understand and address the causes of failure, rather than treat symptoms. The findings will take a holistic view of the problem to generate evidence that informs government intervention programmes.
With £1 million awarded to the University of Plymouth, our research is designed to inform and add value to these programmes, driving inter-connectivity between academia and government, established public-private partnerships, and implementation programmes.
The project will:
- research sources, pathways and fates of plastic waste in the environment on a national scale using state-of-the-art modelling to estimate the volumes of plastic reaching land, rivers and seas in Indonesia
- conduct model validation through litter surveys to categorise litter from the point of release into the environment and at increasing distances from source to sea
- examine impacts of plastic waste leakage on ecosystem services and functions as well as social and economic structures
- increase understanding on human behavioural and cultural factors associated with consumption, use and disposal of plastic through focus groups in the community
- harmonise data under an analytical framework to assess the complex value of plastic in a whole-system assessment and identify effective intervention points
- create ‘living laboratories’ where experts from different disciplines and sectors will be brought together with civil society to look at which solutions will work and what the relative costs and benefits of each might be.