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A group of people at a beach clean up in Lombok, organised by Lombok Plastic Free

Creating Ripples of Change: Lombok Plastic Free

Plastic pollution is a global crisis that continues to plague our planet, affecting ecosystems, wildlife, and human health. In Indonesia, the problem is particularly dire, with insufficient waste management infrastructure and a lack of awareness exacerbating the issue. Lombok, a picturesque island located in Indonesia, has taken a proactive stance against plastic pollution through the Lombok Plastic Free movement. Since its inception in 2019, this growing community of pioneers and organizations has been tirelessly working to tackle the multifaceted challenges posed by plastic pollution. We had the pleasure of meeting Anne from Lombok Plastic Free while we were in Lombok, who introduced us to the movement.

The Current State of Plastic Pollution in Indonesia

Indonesia faces numerous hurdles in addressing plastic pollution. The lack of proper waste management systems and recycling infrastructure, coupled with a dearth of awareness and education, have contributed to the escalating crisis. Even in popular tourist destinations like Bali, which attract businesses from around the world, a comprehensive circular waste management or recycling system is yet to be established.

Bags of collected trash in a field on the beautiful island of Lombok with mountains in the background

Lombok Plastic Free: An Ever-Adapting Movement

Lombok Plastic Free operates as a dynamic and evolving movement, continuously adapting its strategies to combat plastic pollution. Currently, the core team is focused on three key initiatives that aim to make a tangible difference.

Bins in the back of a lorry as part of the Lombok Plastic Free movement and efforts to recycle on the island

Implementing Circular Waste Management: Lombok Plastic Free is spearheading the implementation of a circular waste management system. Under this initiative, businesses contribute to the cost of waste bins and pick-up services for local families. The collected waste is then directed to a local "bank sampah" (waste bank) for recycling. The recycled materials are handed over to organizations like Honest Ocean, which produces plastic pellets for further recycling. This pilot project holds immense potential for replication in other regions, promoting a sustainable approach to waste management.

Children on the island of Lombok at an education program organised by Lombok Plastic Free

Educating the Youth: Recognizing the dearth of education on plastic pollution in local schools, Lombok Plastic Free has mobilized a group of passionate students and teachers. Together, they have created a schools' competition for local primary schools, providing a platform for young learners to engage with and learn about plastic pollution. The initiative includes setting up school gardens and waste bins, organizing recycling challenges, and developing educational materials. By empowering the younger generation, Lombok Plastic Free aims to foster awareness and inspire long-lasting change.

Lobbying and Raising Political Pressure: The Lombok Plastic Free movement is actively engaged in lobbying efforts and political advocacy. This involves participating in demonstrations, joining local discussions and meetings, and leveraging social media campaigns to highlight the impact of plastic pollution. By shining a spotlight on major polluters and pressing for policy changes, the movement aims to effect systemic transformations.

    Acting Locally, Thinking Globally

    The challenges faced by Lombok Plastic Free and other organizations combating plastic pollution in Indonesia are immense and complex. However, they have embraced a philosophy of acting locally and thinking globally. By taking small, incremental steps and maintaining patience and persistence, they have found strength in their collective efforts. Instead of focusing solely on staunch opponents of change, they prioritize working with individuals and groups who are willing to embrace positive transformations.

    People cheering at the beach clean up in Lombok organised by Lombok Plastic Free

    The Role of Tourists

    Tourists visiting Lombok can also play a crucial role in reducing plastic pollution. Even small actions like refusing single-use plastics and criticizing practices that contribute to plastic waste can have a significant impact. By making conscious choices, tourists can influence local businesses and raise awareness among fellow travelers. Engaging in responsible tourism and supporting initiatives like Lombok Plastic Free can contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future for this beautiful island and beyond.

    Activists at a clean up on mount Rinjani in Lombok

    Lombok Plastic Free stands as a beacon of hope amidst the vast challenges posed by plastic pollution in Indonesia. By implementing circular waste management, educating the youth, and engaging in political advocacy, this movement demonstrates the power of collective action. Their commitment to actinglocal and thinking global, taking small steps, and collaborating with like-minded individuals and organizations serves as an inspiration for others to join the fight against plastic pollution. As tourists, we too have a responsibility to minimize our plastic footprint and support initiatives like Lombok Plastic Free. By making conscious choices and advocating for change, we can contribute to a plastic-free future and help preserve the natural beauty of destinations like Lombok for generations to come. Together, we can make a difference and create a world free from the burden of plastic pollution.


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