Weekend Story: Plastic Waste Emergency during a Pandemic

Liputan6.com, Jakarta The garbage problem, especially plastic waste, is still a challenge that must be answered completely. Handling is certainly not easy, even though a number of regulations have been enforced.

It is inevitable that a pandemic has given birth to a series of new habits. One of them can be seen in the eating habits of using food delivery services because many restaurants eliminate on-site dining services.

According to Ujang Solihin Siddik as the Directorate of Waste Management of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) of the Republic of Indonesia in a virtual press conference for the Dropbox Waste Packaging program, at the end of September, the amount of waste in the business district, hotels and restaurants has indeed decreased.

However, the amount trash households increase during a pandemic. An increase in the amount of household waste occurs in line with the policy of working and learning from home. This has led a number of people to order food products online with most of the packaging using plastic, especially single-use plastic.

Then, how to deal with the problem of plastic waste during a pandemic? According to Ujang, one of the ways is by optimizing the waste bank. Unfortunately, the waste bank program in Indonesia is running slowly due to the low level of public awareness in sorting waste. Based on data from Sustainable Waste Indonesia in 2018, Indonesia is estimated to produce 64 million tons of waste per year, of which 3.2 million tons per year enter the sea.

With this condition, Indonesia is listed as the second largest contributor of plastic waste in the sea in the world. The amount of waste comes from households by 48 percent, traditional markets 24 percent, commercial areas nine percent, and the rest from public facilities.

Of the total waste, only 7 percent is successfully recycled. Meanwhile, 69 percent ended up in the final disposal site (TPA) and 24 percent were disposed of without a permit.

Ujang emphasized that this educational effort should not only be the responsibility of the government, but also all other elements, especially the private sector that produces plastic packaging for certain products. During the pandemic, the involvement of medical teams and hospitals must also be increased along with the increasing number of plastic waste from medical activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is a tough challenge and must be resolved with local governments, foundations, and other infrastructure. Some people do not have the correct awareness and understanding so that the government and the business world must work together. Our society must also be educated in sorting waste because people only need to dispose of waste in its place. we have not graduated, “he explained.

About plastic waste households that increased during the pandemic, he suggested that people reduce snacks online and start cooking yourself at home.

“Buying food or shopping outside the home is also not a problem, the important thing is to bring your own bag or grocery bag that is environmentally friendly,” he said.

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