By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea if pollution continues at the rate it does today. Indonesia is the country that dumps the second-most plastic into the world’s oceans; a new Danish-Indonesian collaboration hopes to change this.
– There is a real need for us to make an effort to help the Indonesian authorities handle the massive challenge that they face with the discharge of waste. I saw these challenges myself in Jakarta Bay yesterday. It is sad how much waste and plastic that gets dumped in the sea, which is why I have launched a new inter-agency cooperation for water and waste in Indonesia. In this way we can help to reduce the discharge of waste into the world’s oceans, while also enabling Danish companies to earn money from Indonesian waste, says the Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs, who is visiting Indonesia this week.
The new Danish inter-agency cooperation focuses on waste management, recycling and the conversion of waste into energy. Danish authorities shall inspire and exchange experience with the Indonesians on waste policy and management, as well as public regulations such as charging for plastic bags and recycling and deposit systems.
– Not least, we must be generous in sharing our experiences in the conversion of waste into energy. Denmark is almost a world champion in this area. We import waste, which we convert to heat and electricity for Danish households. We need to pass on this expertise to the Indonesians, for the benefit of both the environment and the economy. This type of cooperation is both innovative and modern, and is an excellent foreign policy tool for the 21st century, says Ulla Tørnæs, noting also that the Indonesians are asking for Danish solutions.
Danish companies such as DESMI, DONG Energy, Rambøll, Grundfos, Babcock&Wilcox Vølund and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency have already been to Jakarta and presented solutions to the problem of plastic pollution to the local authorities and the World Bank.
Danish companies have also been involved in pilot studies as part of Denmark’s environmental programme, which aims to replace coal with household waste and convert landfill gas into electricity.
– The inter-agency cooperation and the involvement of Danish businesses is central to the government’s new political development strategy. In growth countries such as Indonesia, Danish solutions can make a crucial difference. We want to involve the full force of Danish society in the development cooperation, including the private sector, maintains Ulla Tørnæs.
According to the minister, the new Danish development strategy tallies with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals: an agenda that applies to all countries – and which is universal.
The inter-agency cooperation involves Denmark sending a Danish growth consultant with expert knowledge in the field of water and waste to the Danish embassy in Jakarta to initiate a close collaboration between the Ministry of Environment and Food in Denmark and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency – and their Indonesian counterparts.