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Sorong of West Papua turn to waste bank to save its ocean

Sorong, Ekuatorial – To stop littering the ocean, civil societies working with Sorong sanitation agency developed waste bank in the city, said a green activist, in Sorong, Papua, on Tuesday (22/10).

Sorong waste bank was triggered by foreign tourists concerned by plastics were seen dumped into the sea. This prompted local NGOs Misool Baseftin Foundation (YMB) and Papuan’s Children Health Foundation (ASP) working with Sorong sanitary agency launched waste bank in January 2014.

From only one waste bank, it had grown to become nine waste banks which covered almost all districts of Sorong. Its latest turnover has reached of nearly Rp 48 million (US$ 3,985) with 700 customers.

Lusi Kantohe, chief of Kampung Baru Waste Bank of West Sorong district, with four other members attracted their customers by putting price tags on wastes. In her waste bank, plastic bottles are worth between Rp 1000 to Rp 2000 per kilograms, cartons are worth Rp 350 per kilograms, aluminum cans reach Rp 9000 per kilograms, while iron cans are only worth Rp 300 per kilograms.

Every Friday morning, they would weigh and collect wastes brought by people. “They would need to sort their garbage to organic and recycle then they can become customers of waste bank,” said Lusi adding that they collect and weigh wastes every Friday morning.

Enthusiastic customers such as Salma Derlen and Anton Rariaro were relentless in finding wastes in their neighborhood. Derlen, who is only a month joining Kampung Baru Waste Bank, roaming around stores and restaurants looking for [used] plastic bottles or [used] cartons every afternoon. “I am just going to save [the money],” she said.

Meanwhile, Rariao, a hotel janitor, has been busy also collecting plastic bottles. He would be able to collect 17 kilograms of plastic bottles to save at the bank.

Uvang Permana, operational manager of ASP, said that waste bank can improve the city’s cleanliness. “We have to raise people’s awareness to care and participate in looking after their neighborhood. It started from households by sorting out their wastes,” said Permana adding that waste bank also encourage people to turn their wastes to other uses, such as compost and handcrafts.

Albert Lemauk, head of Kampung Baru village, said that he was supportive of the program by providing a place for the Waste Bank to operate.

Numbers of customers in nine waste banks have been rising significant from its waste volume. However, there is a challenge on transportation, especially from the banks to the waste pool, as Sorong does not have its own waste management unit. Niken Proboretno

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