Zero Waste City Labuan Bajo – Building a comprehensive and effective waste management system in remote region in Indonesia (2)

Picture The ladies of RT 18, Kepala Desa, Dinas BLH and IWP team in Desa Gorontalo, Kota Labuan Bajo, Flores

Good waste management starts with waste separation at household level and separate collection schedules for non-organic recyclables and residue. As part of our bottom-up approach we reach out to women groups and school children at neighbourhood level. Yesterday our road trip took us to RT 18 in Desa Gorontalo. This community is located off one of Labuan Bajo’s main roads.

Village life in town

This video illustrates the rural life style which is also part of Labuan Bajo. Most visitors do not see these locations. The tourism centre, hotels, restaurants and dive operators are mainly located near the water front. Waste collection in most of these areas still needs to be established.

Burning plastics

At 7.30 we had our portion of Dioxin inhalation, due to plastic burning in front of houses – a daily routine throughout Asia – in locations where waste collection is not yet established. Addressing this issue is part of our socialisation. Growing mother’s understanding about the impact of these fumes on human health, their children and climate change is an important aspect of our program. VIDEO

Changing mindsets

We start with a small quiz, to assess the basic level of waste literacy and to attract full attention of the ladies. We ask simple do-you-know’s such as ‘the difference between organic and non-organic material’, ‘the impact of burning plastics’, ‘where is TPA located (landfill)’. As a reward we hand out a small though useful gift – a re-usable shopping bag, supporting reduction of the use of single use shopping bags. As an example Marta Muslin emphasises the common practice of automatically taking a small thin plastic bag at the check-out counter in local shops for one pack of cigarettes or one bottled drink, which is then discarded within one minute after leaving the shop. Much of this socialisation is about changing the mindset regarding single-use items. VIDEO

Cross-sector collaborations

All meetings are in collaboration with the District Environmental Department. The community is made aware about the current capacity and the limits of the cleaning services. Labuan Bajo is a rapid expanding town, because of tourism development. This development offers new job opportunities for Flores population and many relocate to Labuan Bajo from villages in the east of the island, where jobs are scarce. Waste management in remote villages in the mountains is totally lacking, so the constant influx of newcomers without waste literacy requires ongoing socialisation. Pak Budi, head of the Hazardous Waste section explains the importance of collaboration between community and local government in this VIDEO

Practical solutions and pragmatism

To support logistics for waste collection we brainstormed with all participants.

Organics: Community will take care of their organic waste. In this area organic waste is fed to livestock. Most families have chicken, goats and pets.

Glass: We will take care of the glass waste by producing sand for construction works with our Bottle Crusher. This creates jobs, reduces depletion of beach sand, lowers CO2 footprint and extends the lifespan of the new landfill in Warloka.

All recyclable plastics: We hand out large bags to each household for collection of recyclables. These will be collected separately, to be transported to the recyclables collection centre.

Residue: one driver of the fleet of 10 waste trucks happens to live in RT18 and at night he parks his car in front of his house. An agreement has been made between pak Budi, the driver and the ladies that the truck can be used as a community bin for residue waste, which needs to go to the landfill.

Pragmatism at it’s best.

Environmental eduction

As part of our program we involve all schools in Labuan Bajo. We evaluated with with school children after previous school trainings in Labuan Bajo primary schools in 2016. Their comment: ‘when we come home our family still litters, because they do not understand’. This is why it is so important to educate mothers and their children. VIDEO

Note: We follow the 2019 strategy of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment & Forestry #PilahSampahRumah