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Regulatory Initiatives to Restrain Marine Plastic Pollution

Updated: Mar 24, 2023


Living in a digitally informed society, many people seem to have already acknowledged the necessity of keeping our ocean free from pollution. As there are hundreds of articles insinuating the negative impacts of the debris on marine ecosystems and the preventive actions that can be performed as an individual, only a few of them cover collective actions that the Indonesian government has taken over these years to combat formidable issues on marine plastic pollution.

Presiden of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meeting in 2016, raising the need for comprehensive regulations to tackle marine pollution. Marine plastic pollution, Indonesia National Action Plan for Combating Marine Litter, Indonesia law restraining marine plastic litter, Global Plastic Action Partnership.  CarbonEthics Indonesia
Presiden of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meeting in 2016, raising the need for comprehensive regulations to tackle marine pollution. Source: Courtesy of Presidential Staff Office (Laily Rachev)

In 2017, over 6.8 million tonnes of plastic waste were generated in Indonesia. Most of it was unsustainably managed, with around 9% ended up leaking into our waterways and ocean (NPAP, 2020). At that moment, several laws had been established by the Indonesian government, including Law No. 32 of 2009 on Protection of the Environment, Law No. 32 of 2014 on the Sea, and other provincial regulations (Sulistiawati, 2019). There were also international laws that legally bond Indonesia as one of their country members, such as UNCLOS, MARPOL, and ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris. However, it was argued that the Indonesian legal framework did not have enough progressive approaches to tackle marine debris pollution and that major changes needed to refine Indonesia’s image as the world’s second-biggest plastic polluter (Taufan, 2017).

Sankey Diagram on Indonesia's Plastic Waste Management NPAP. Marine plastic pollution, Indonesia National Action Plan for Combating Marine Litter, Indonesia law restraining marine plastic litter, Global Plastic Action Partnership.  CarbonEthics Indonesia
Sankey Diagram on Indonesia's Plastic Waste Management. Source: National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP)

Aiming to reduce this figure, the Indonesian government then enacted the National Action Plan for Combating Marine Litter 2018-2025, which was regulated by Presidential Regulation No. 83/2018. The target is to reduce marine litter by 70% in 2025 by implementing five strategies including:

  1. National movement to increase stakeholder’s awareness;

  2. Land-based waste management;

  3. Waste management on the coast and sea;

  4. Funding mechanisms, institutional strengthening, supervision, and law enforcement; and

  5. Research and development.

These strategies are then broken down into more actionable national programs, such as improving behavioral changes through formal and informal education, improving the capacity of waste management through financial schemes, promoting waste-to-energy projects, implementing strict monitoring, surveillance, and law enforcement on ocean littering.


Indonesia’s movements in restraining their marine plastic litter also started to gain tremendous support from many leaders through various international fora. One of the vital initiatives was G20 Action Plan on Marine Litter, which was established at Hamburg Summit in July 2017. This framework was then followed up by the G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter in June 2019 and later endorsed by leaders from 19 countries, including Indonesia, at Osaka Summit through “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision” which aimed at reducing marine plastic litter to zero by 2050. Under the initiative, the Japan Ministry of Environment created a portal site and a report that was meant to facilitate implementation of the action plan from each country while promoting collaborative actions and outreach outside the G20 Summit (JMOE, 2019).


Another prominent cooperation was with the Global Plastic Action Partnership, a multi-stakeholder initiative set up by the World Economic Forum to launch the Indonesia National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP) in early 2019. The NPAP supports Indonesia’s National Action Plan on Marine Litter as well as other regulations and efforts towards achieving its own commitment to reach near-zero plastic pollution by 2040. In addition to preventing almost 16 million tonnes of plastic leakages into waterways and ocean by 2040, NPAP also develops a System Change Scenario (SCS) to support the achievement of related UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) such as cutting the greenhouse gases emissions, improving public health by reducing our pollution, creating more jobs, and yielding economic benefit for coastal communities through sustainable fisheries and tourism (NPAP, 2019).

Collection Rate of Plastic Waste Generation per Capita in Indonesia NPAP.. Marine plastic pollution, Indonesia National Action Plan for Combating Marine Litter, Indonesia law restraining marine plastic litter, Global Plastic Action Partnership.  CarbonEthics Indonesia
Collection Rate of Plastic Waste Generation per Capita in Indonesia. Source: National Plastic Action Partnership

As one of the world’s largest archipelagos with over 17,000 islands and 95,000 km coastlines (WRI, 2001), Indonesian effort in preserving the environmental and social welfare greatly depended on the success of this regulatory framework to fight marine pollution. Our government’s fight to eradicate marine plastic litter is still far from over, and the delivery of their action plan will require a coordinated multi-stakeholder movement to reduce and prevent the waste from entering our ocean.


Hence, as the non-profit organizations carrying out the advocacy for marine conservation through carbon offsetting, CarbonEthics is welcoming the future possibility of partnerships with governments, organizations, NGOs, private sectors, small businesses, and research institutions. We believe eradicating marine plastic pollution will be the key to our successful blue carbon movement, as we are working hand in hand with local communities to protect and restore the coastal ecosystems that help safeguard the climate.





References:

  1. “Radically Reducing Plastic Pollution in Indonesia: A Multistakeholder Action Plan”. Insight Report by National Plastic Action Partnership. Published on World Economic Forum – April 2020. https://globalplasticaction.org/wp-content/uploads/NPAP-Indonesia-Multistakeholder-Action-Plan_April-2020.pdf

  2. “Marine Plastic Pollution Regulation in Indonesia”. Presentation by Dr. Linda Yanti Sulistiawati (Senior Research Fellow). Published by APCEL – NUS Law. https://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/10/D2-S2-P1-Slides-Sulistiawati-15-Oct.pdf

  3. “Oceans of Plastic: Fixing Indonesia’s Marine Debris Pollution Laws”. Article by Muhammad Taufan. Published on The Diplomat – January 2017. https://thediplomat.com/2017/01/oceans-of-plastic-fixing-indonesias-marine-debris-pollution-laws/

  4. “Towards Osaka Blue Ocean Vision” Website. Managed by Japan Ministry of Environment. https://g20mpl.org/

  5. “G20 Report on Actions against Marine Plastic Litter”. Published by Japan Ministry of the Environment – November 2019. https://www.env.go.jp/en/water/marine_litter/pdf/112576.pdf

  6. “Pilot Analysis of Global Ecosystems: Coastal Ecosystems”. Article by L. Burke et al. Published on World Resources Institute – 2001. https://www.wri.org/research/pilot-analysis-global-ecosystems-coastal-ecosystems



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