Indonesia is paying fishers to collect plastic trash from the ocean. In a move that is part of the broad effort to reduce pollution, the Ministry of Fisheries, which aims to reduce plastic in Indonesia by 70 percent by 2025, announced an experimental month-long program that will pay about 1,700 fishermen each week to collect up to 4 kilograms of plastic from the sea each day. This would add up to a total of around 180,000 tonnes, according to the World Economic Forum.
About $70,000 has been earmarked for the project, which will be used to fund the fishermen during the month of October: the compensation (150,000 rupees per week, about $10) is little more than what they normally earn from fishing.
According to Sakti Wahyu Trenggono, minister of fisheries, the operation is expected to raise people’s awareness of the plastic problem, and each fisherman is expected to collect at least 4 kilograms of waste among Indonesia’s various main islands.
If we can conduct prevention properly, there should be no more trash in the sea.Sakti Wahyu Trenggono, Minister of fisheries
Indonesia is one of the countries with the highest amount of plastic pollution: it produces about 6.8 million tons each year, but only 10 percent of it is processed in recycling centers and about 620,000 tons end up in the ocean. The amount is growing by 5% every year.
70% of Indonesia’s plastic waste is mismanaged. It’s either burned, dumped or left to flow into the sea. Overall, 8 of the Planet’s 10 rivers most polluted by plastic are in Asia. Paying fishermen to collect it is part of the government’s way to try to reduce plastic pollution in the country.
“The most important thing is prevention,” said Wahyu Trenggono. “If we can conduct it properly, then there should be no more trash in the sea. Because once the trash gets into the sea everything becomes more complex.”
In an effort to turn the tide, the country therefore plans to spend $1 billion to cut 70% of its plastic waste by 2025. It is increasing attention in coastal communities to proper product stewardship and initiating recycling pathways.