Indonesia is the largest archipelagic country in the world and the fourth most populous, with over 270 million people. The country has experienced rapid population growth across many of its inhabited islands, particularly in its urban centers—of which over half are located in coastal areas. By 2025, 68 percent of the country’s population is expected to live in urban areas, where it is estimated that only about half of generated waste is collected—the rest openly dumped or burned, with significant negative consequences for human health and the environment.
Across the islands, cultures, languages, and urban landscapes vary greatly, as do solid waste management systems and their levels of efficiency—challenging them to keep pace with continued growth and advance in ways that can curb ocean pollution and waste-linked greenhouse gas emissions.
At the national level, Clean Cities, Blue Ocean is supporting Indonesia to reduce land-based sources of ocean plastic pollution through its national Solid Waste Management Platform. As part of this work, the program is also engaging in sites throughout Indonesia to pilot solutions to stop the flow of plastic pollution, including:
- Kota Semarang is the capital city of Central Java Province, with an industrial port and estimated population of 1.7 million. Semarang’s current waste system is estimated to cover only about 60% of the total waste generated.
- Kota Makassar is the country’s fifth populous urban center, at 1.5 million, and the capital city of South Sulawesi Province. Makassar’s rapid economic growth exceeds the average growth rate of Indonesia. City waste production is increasing day over day, with demonstrated need for more consistent collection rates and services amongst communities.
- Kota Ambon, directly located in the Ambon Bay area, is an area of strategic environmental and economic importance to Maluku Province, famed for its coral reef ecosystem and conservation areas.
- Bina Karta Lestari Foundation (BINTARI) is building on their previous experience to improve recycling rates in Semarang to carry out research to understand the municipal solid waste management systems, actors, and practices, which will inform an integrated solid waste plan to improve the capacity of local material recovery facilities (and/or waste banks. BINTARI will also establish and strengthen the capacity of community-run operators to lead the operations these facilities, build the capacity of the local government to support the facilities, and engage communities to adopt more sustainable 3R/SWM practices.
- Waste4Change (W4C), in collaboration with sub-grantee Green Moluccas, will increase Ambon’s waste management capacity by researching its existing conditions, systems, stakeholders, and value chains, which will inform new strategies for improved community-based management of TPS/3R and waste bank facilities, as well as improved local government participation in waste governance.
- Waste4Change (W4C), in collaboration with sub-grantee Yayasan Lestari Mulia Foundation, will increase Makassar’s waste management capacity by researching its existing conditions, systems, stakeholders, and value chains, which will inform new strategies for improved community-based management of TPS/3R and waste bank facilities, as well as improved local government participation in waste governance.
- Yayasan Kesejahteraan Keluarga Soegijapranata Semarang (YKKSS) is supporting CCBO’s Women in Waste Economic Empowerment (WWEE) Activity in Semarang, Indonesia, in collaboration with CCBO and Johns Hopkins University. YKKS will support the tailoring of and lead the delivery of WWEE’s Basic Business Skills and Empowerment Training (BBEST) and Advanced Business Skills training to women working in waste; support graduates with coaching and mentoring to develop and pitch business plans for funding; and provide regular mentoring and monitoring support to participants as they establish and expand their waste and recycling businesses.