Indonesian authorities have deployed an army of staff and a fleet of boats to help clear the rubbish-infested shorelines and surrounding waters in an attempt to combat the Southeast Asian archipelago’s mammoth marine waste problem.
This week’s cleanup operation is centred around a string of islands known as the Thousand Islands, a popular destination for day trip from the traffic-clogged capital.
Residents of one island have reported dead turtles in the area, although Yusen Hardiman, head of the region’s environmental department, said it was not yet clear if this was a result of ingesting rubbish.
Last week, a sperm whale was found dead in a marine park off Sulawesi island with 115 plastic cups and 25 plastic bags in its stomach.
Some 264 sanitation workers are involved in the ongoing cleanup of the Thousand Islands, while 13 boats regularly patrol the trash-choked areas of the archipelago, with 10 others set to be added to the fleet next year.
Home to over 17,000 islands, Indonesia faces serious environmental pollution. It has pledged to reduce marine plastic by 70 percent by 2025. However, poor waste-processing infrastructure and low awareness among its inhabitants have proven to be major obstacles.
Last year, popular tourist destination Bali island declared a “garbage emergency” after its beach was inundated with a rising tide of plastic waste. –VNA