Jakarta – As World Oceans Day is marked on Friday, Indonesia is faced with huge amounts of waste polluting its waters.
Research by the People's Coalition for Fisheries Justice (KIARA) has revealed that at least 1.29 million tons of waste is dumped into rivers every year, with 13,000 tons of plastic waste per square kilometer polluting the ocean.
According to KIARA secretary-general Susan Herawati, Indonesia was the second-worst polluter after China when it came to ocean plastic waste.
"Many people tend to think that the ocean is a huge dump site instead of a source of food," she said in a written statement received by The Jakarta Post on Friday.
The KIARA research and development center also recorded 37 oil spills from 1998 to 2017. The most recent case occurred this year in the Balikpapan bay, considered as Indonesia's worst environmental disaster in the past 10 years.
Oil spills cause severe environmental damage to the ocean and are very difficult to clean up.
"We need a consistent policy from the government to overcome this matter. The government also needs to educate people to raise awareness on the importance of the ocean," Susan said. (dpk/swd)