Four of Indonesia’s rivers rank among the 20 most polluted in the world in terms of mismanaged plastic waste measured in metric tons.
This makes Indonesia the second-largest contributor to marine plastic pollution after China. A recent research article, published in the journal Nature Communications, estimates that between 1.15 million and 2.41 million tonnes of plastic enters the oceans every year from rivers. Of this, Indonesia is estimated to emit around 200,000 tonnes of plastic from rivers and streams, mainly from Java and Sumatra.
Plastic debris can kill marine animals that get entangled and drown or starve after they ingest particles they cannot digest. Toxins leach from plastic as it breaks down, posing health risks for animals, while also entering the food chain and eventually ending up on our plates.