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The Beach is not an Orphanage for Waste

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Even with the hundreds to thousands of campaigns regarding environmental cleanliness, waste is a repetitive and never-ending topic of discussion that comes up.

Can't we figure this problem out?

Beach: a hot spot for waste

Waste is flooding Indonesia's waters, they stop by the shoreline, deciding to stay or go back to sea, poisoning the increasingly depleting marine biota. They come in many forms, from plastics to coal spills. Beaches are like an orphanage for waste that seemingly comes out of nowhere, as they get tossed around from the sea, coastal settlements, or even other continents.

Since September 2023, coal has polluted the waters of the conservation area in Meureubo, Aceh three times.

Coal stranded on the beach in Meureubo District, West Aceh Regency has happened repeatedly since 2023
Coal stranded on the beach in Meureubo District, West Aceh Regency has happened repeatedly since 2023

Photo by AHAN [1]

These coals carried by the sea current, lie stranded on the shoreline. The local community suspected the culprits behind this tragedy to be PT Mifa Bersaudara and the Steam Power Plant (PLTU), that used coal to produce electricity.

This incident had a fatal impact on the coast and sea, starting from damaged coral reefs to the fishermen who had to look for fish in further seas. Of course, this incident is just one of many cases.

The Guests Who Come From Various "Grounds"

Not only in conservation areas, beaches that are quite polluted used to be popular tourist attractions. The high number of visitors and the lack of awareness on proper waste management, makes waste seem like uninvited guests because it creates an uncomfortable view.

The following is the categories of waste found in Indonesia's seas in 2020, where plastic comes in first place.

Weight of waste in Indonesian seas by type in 2020
Weight of waste in Indonesian seas by type in 2020

Graphic data by Databox [2]

In 2023, an environmental activist group called Pandawara took the initiative to clean the dirtiest beach in Indonesia, which is located in Labuan District, Pandeglang Regency, Banten Province. However, not even a year since Pandawara and the community mass-cleaned the beach, now it is again littered with rubbish.


A Reflection for Us

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) predicts that by 2040, plastic waste entering marine ecosystems will increase almost 3 times, if there is no serious prevention. This is concerning for all of us because the impact of waste that settles on beaches and seas not only endangers the environment, but also humans. Fish or marine animals that ingest microplastics can absorb the toxic waste, and when humans eat these animals, they unknowingly ingest microplastics too.

The beach is not a place where waste belongs to. In fact, it should be a source of life for local residents, and much more.

But of course, who wants to enjoy the sunset accompanied by a pile of waste?


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