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Yaksindo slams Sungai Watch's plastic waste audit as misleading and incomplete

Jakarta Globe - February 22, 2024

Jakarta – Sungai Watch's audit on the rivers in Bali and Banyuwangi recently raised criticisms from the Indonesian Waste Management Foundation (Yaksindo), arguing that the non-government organization's report was unfair and misleading.

According to Yaksindo, the audit – which only focused on the downstream waste collection and surface river waste – failed to provide a comprehensive assessment of Indonesia's plastic waste crisis. The audit should have included the factories in the upstream sector, as well as the community.

"You can't draw a valid conclusion about the presence of plastic waste if you only look downstream and at the river's surface," Yaksindo chairman Nara Ahirullah said.

A holistic audit should consider the entire lifecycle of a product, including its recyclability and the brand's efforts to collect and recycle packaging. Products like multilayer plastic sachets, plastic bags, or diapers –which are difficult to recycle– often end up in the environment, including rivers, due to their lack of recycling value, according to Nara.

Yaksindo criticized the audit for potentially facilitating greenwashing by focusing only on recyclable products like PET bottles while disregarding more challenging waste categories (sachets, multilayers, and diapers).

Nara added that improving waste management should be a shared responsibility between the local governments, producers, and the public. He told Sungai Watch to urge the Bali and Banyuwangi governments also to address the challenges posed by hard-to-recycle products.

Nara's comments came in response to Sungai Watch's recent report, 'Sungai Watch Impact Report 2023', which highlighted 10 major pollutants in rivers in Bali and Banyuwangi, East Java. According to Nara, Bali and Banyuwangi only represent a small fraction of Indonesia's vast territory. In other words, it cannot accurately represent the nation's overall plastic waste situation.

In the report, Sungai Watch identified 10 companies with the highest rates of plastic sachet and multilayer waste pollution in Indonesia. They are Wings, Unilever, Santos Jaya Abadi, Indofood, Siantar Top, Mayora Indah, Ajinomoto, P&G, Mama Lemon, and Forisa.

There are over 500 cities, 30 provinces, and 70,000 rivers in Indonesia. The French citizen-led Sungai watch audit, however, only covered a few rivers in less than 10 cities in Bali and East Java. The organization has collected over $1.2 million in donations for its activities. Analysts have also urged the government to audit how the organization collected and spent its funds, and whether Sungai Watch has a permit to collect money from the public.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/yaksindo-slams-sungai-watchs-plastic-waste-audit-as-misleading-and-incomplet