This is how we can get rid of plastic pollution by 2040

  • With existing technology, we can reduce the amount of plastic pollution entering our oceans by 80%.
  • Indonesia has released a new roadmap aiming to completely end plastic pollution by 2040.
  • The knowledge gained here also applies to other countries around the world.

A new analysis published in the journal Science shows that the usual approach to tackling plastic pollution in the oceans is not working. Worse still, if the current trajectory continues, the amount of plastic waste entering the ocean will triple by 2040.

What is special about this study, however, is that it focuses on the solutions that can hold back this crisis. With today’s technology, we can reduce the flow of plastic in the oceans by 80% – and with additional investments in innovation we can approach 100%.

In countries like Indonesia, whose rich coastlines, biodiversity and marine economy are acutely threatened by increasing plastic pollution, measures simply cannot afford to wait any longer. For this reason, Indonesia was the first country to put many of the recommendations in this study into practice.

In April of this year, the Indonesia National Plastic Action Partnership – a collaboration between the Indonesian government and the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastic Action Partnership – released the Indonesian Multi-Stakeholder Action Plan, a bold roadmap that proposes a way to reduce the amount of plastic leaks by 2025 70% in the oceans of Indonesia and by 2040 by moving to a circular economy for plastics, plastic pollution will be close to zero.

This action plan focuses on concrete, tailor-made solutions that can work realistically for Indonesia, for example in terms of increasing waste collection capacity and promoting alternatives to plastics. The analysis was borrowed from the above study co-authored by SYSTEMIQ and The Pew Charitable Trusts, while the underlying data is from across Indonesia. The recommendations were formulated through close collaboration and consensus building with leading plastic waste and pollution experts in Indonesia across all sectors.

How does it work in practice?

Developing the multi-stakeholder action plan was an essential first step in creating a common national strategy that was endorsed and supported by government, industry, civil society and academia. We have now entered the next phase: implementing the system changes proposed in the action plan.

First, while the actions are being driven by the various partners of the Indonesian platform, successful implementation requires a central coordinating body to ensure that the efforts and results between the partners are clearly defined, constantly aligned and interconnected. We are proud to partner with the World Resources Institute (WRI) in this regard: WRI not only acts as the home base of our Jakarta Secretariat, but also brings decades of experience in the country to guide our direction and work plan for the next 5 years.

We can reduce the amount of plastic that reaches the ocean by 80%

Image: ‘Breaking the Plastic Wave’, SYSTEMIQ

In order to advance the solutions in the action plan and to ensure that our partners make concrete contributions to our common goal, we have distributed responsibilities and results to our platform members by starting five task forces: politics, financing, innovation, behavioral changes and metrics, each from there are more than members. Here’s a quick rundown of what each task force is up to:

1. Funding: This group will be the first task force led by the Asian Development Bank and the Indonesian Ministry of Finance to publish a funding roadmap that will both assess the current funding gaps and present potential funding models with key partners who can help fund the funding proposed in the action plan systemic changes.

2. Innovation: This task force has started mapping existing solutions and gaps in innovation that are required to achieve the systemic changes that can bring Indonesia to its 70% target. We plan the organization of innovation showcases and pitching events with the help of a comprehensive global network of experts, technology providers and impact investment partners.

3. Metrics: This task force is moving just as fast with ambitious plans to improve data collection. We hosted the first meeting in early September, and members have already started to identify various initiatives that involve collecting data and identifying opportunities for collaboration between the various data platforms, sharing best practices and practical knowledge about measurement standards at the national level and ensuring a unified initiative include an approach to reporting on Indonesia’s progress in eliminating plastic pollution over the next few years.

4. Guidelines: This group will officially start in October. Led by the World Bank Group and the Coordinating Ministry on Maritime Affairs and Investment, she will conduct an in-depth analysis of existing policies, outline recommendations on policy models that have proven successful in similar contexts, and a long-term implementation plan to support the government and all parties involved Partners towards a policy framework necessary to achieve the proposed system changes.

5. Behavior Change: This task force aims to use the visibility of the platform to support and reinforce the public awareness and behavior change campaigns taking place in Indonesia, especially those led by local leaders and advocates.

How the plastics system has to change in a business-as-usual scenario

How the plastic system has to change in a normal scenario

Image: ” Breaking the Plastic Wave ”, SYSTEMIQ

Transferable lessons

Indonesia is leading the way in meeting the plastic challenge of the oceans – and it shows that while it is necessary and critical to dedicate valuable resources to tackling the COVID-19 crisis, we cannot afford to leave the long-term challenges behind to ignore .

Parallel action plans are being developed in Ghana and Vietnam, two other pioneering countries that have partnered with the Global Plastic Action Partnership and the World Economic Forum to take action against plastic pollution. While each country faces unique challenges, we know that many of the lessons learned from these three countries are reproducible on a larger scale, from reducing reliance on single-use plastics to improving recycling infrastructure to keep up with existing levels of plastic waste.

We welcome any organization interested in joining our platform to contribute to this crucial exchange of knowledge and resources. Please send us a message at [email protected] to start a conversation.

Comments are closed.