Three Developments In Accra That Have Gone Against The Grain Of Innovation

Photo : Wikipedia

October 31, 2017 is World Cities Day; a day set out to examine urbanization as a phenomenon and iron out its successes and challenges. I happen to live in a large urban center- Accra. Accra is the capital city of Ghana, and it’s not surprisingly the most densely populated city in the country.


Photo : UN

The last census in 2010 puts the city’s population at 2,076,546.  If you think that’s high then you may be surprised at another statistic- if the annual the growth rate of 2.2% is anything to go by we may be hovering at little over 5,000,000 people right now! The question we must ponder over is whether the city has evolved to accommodate this bulge in numbers.

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Sanitation authority needed to enforce laws – ESPA

By: Jonas Nyabor,

he Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) believes that Ghana’s sanitation problems can best be addressed when the government takes serious steps to enforce the country’s sanitation by-laws.

It said there is the need for the creation of a sanitation authority to coordinate efforts of all sanitation stakeholders to ensure that the cities are clean.

The Executive Secretary of ESPA, Ama Ofori-Antwi in an interview on Eyewitness News on Friday expressed fear that there would be a duplication of roles by some government ministries and departments such as the Ministry for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ministry for Sanitation and Water resources as well as the Local Government Ministry if the authority is not created.

“What I will recommend to the government is a sanitation authority, because what is happening now is that we have a lot of duplication. We have Local Government ministry, MESTI and now Sanitation and Water resource ministry….[We need] the authority so that everything on sanitation goes through the authority to ensure that we have the city clean, which can be done.”

Ama Ofori-Antwi said although the government has expressed some political will and commitment to addressing the issue of filth especially in the capital, Accra.

Series of news reports gathered by Citi News in the last week shows that there is a worsening sanitation crisis in the capital with city authorities struggling to deal with the situation.

Sections of major roads in the capital have been taken over by filth, usually dumped there by residents in nearby areas.

The problem reveals an apparent inability of the relevant bodies to effectively manage waste generated in the capital especially those generated domestically.

But the Executive Secretary of ESPA says Ghanaians need to be oriented to change their attitudes with regards to managing their waste while enforcement agencies are deployed to ensure that they comply with the laid down sanitation laws.

“I think Attitude is one key thing that needs to be addressed… It is about time our laws are enforced. We need an enforcement of the sanitation bylaws. If the laws were being enforced, we wouldn’t be where we are. It is a very complicated thing that needs a holistic approach in solving it.”



Teshie residents kick against Daben Cleaning Services

By: Kwame Larweh

Residents of Teshie Nungua Estates and GREDA Estates have vowed to embark on a demonstration if the Ledzokuku Krowor Municipal Assembly (LEKMA) does not abrogate “a midnight” contract it awarded to refuse collecting company, Daben Cleaning Services, in December last year.

They are also refusing to pay the GH¢50 monthly fee the cleaning agency has planned to charge them.

The angry residents who spoke to the Daily Graphic noted that Zoomlion Ghana Limited, the usual refuse collecting agency, had been collecting refuse for the past 15 years and charged them only GH¢20 a month.
They added that after the contract with Daben, whom they have dealt with before in the past and rejected due to the unsatisfactory services, refuse had piled up in their houses.
An agitated resident told the Daily Graphic that in the past, the refuse agency that worked in the area collected any amount of refuse provided the client paid the stipulated fee.
The Daily Graphic sighted a letter signed by the Municipal Coordinating Director on behalf of the MCE which gives Daben Cleaning Services the authority to collect refuse from Teshie Nungua Estates, GREDA Estates and its environs.
According to a resident, Mr Ebo Bartels, they paid for their own refuse, not LEKMA and, therefore, LEKMA could not decide who should collect their refuse.
They vowed to resist any attempt by LEKMA to force Daben Cleaning Services on them.
The residents have, therefore, given LEKMA a one-week ultimatum to bring back Zoomlion or they would hit the streets with a massive protest.

Meanwhile, an official of LEKMA, Mr Kodjoe Dekpo, told the Daily Graphic that not a single resident had come to launch a protest against Daben Cleaning Services at his office.
He contended that residents had the right to determine who collected their rubbish if they had a problem with any of the refuse collecting agencies.
However, Mr Dekpo described the recent agitation as rumour-mongering from unscrupulous persons and accused some officials of Zoomlion for the confusion currently raging in the municipality.
He was, however, surprised that with no report of any complaint from residents against Daben, some residents who had never made a report to LEKMA were claiming they did not like the services of the cleaning agency.


Source: Graphic online

Zimbabwe: Prioritise Garbage Collection, Harare Urged

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment, Water and Climate Change and the Environmental Management Agency has urged Harare City Council to capacitate its waste management department to ensure timely collection of garbage. Council has been failing to collect garbage for sometime, resulting in the outbreak of waterborne diseases in suburbs like Mbare.

Speaking during a tour of Mbare, chairperson of the committee Cde Wonder Mashange said residents should also play their part by maintaining a clean environment and paying their bills.

“They need more trucks because of the frequency they collect garbage. If they spent two weeks without collecting garbage, it will accumulate. So, the solution is to capacitate the department. It must be given more resources in terms of trucks or vehicles to ferry the garbage,” he said.

“What contributed to residents not paying maybe initially was poor service delivery. People were maybe paying, but there was no service. I think now it is a question of engaging residents to educate them.

With this kind of improvement in garbage collection, they also need to pay the bills so that service will continually be delivered.”

Cde Mashange said the purpose of the visit was also to inquire if residents were happy with the service they were getting from Harare.

He said as a committee, they were happy with efforts being made by the City of Harare in terms of garbage collection and waste management.

“Usually, typhoid is a disease which is a result of poor hygiene. There was a lot of garbage dotted around Mbare. We said as a committee, we need to go again and visit the area to see the efforts which are being made by the City of Harare,” he said.

City of Harare director of Works, Eng Phillip Pfukwa said the situation in Mbare had improved.

“If we go back four months ago when we had the unfortunate outbreak of typhoid this place was a pigsty but people are now maintaining their working areas,” he said.

“We need refuse compactor in each and one of the 46 wards. As of now, some of the equipment because of its age is on continuous breakdown so our complement of 47 dwindles down to 20 and we resuscitate some and at best we will have 27.”

He said the city has started the process of acquiring new compactors.

EMA spokesperson Steady Kangata said Harare should be capacitated to meet residents’ demands.

“The city has to be capacitated in terms of provision of equipment because failure to have adequate equipment, we will have more waste being generated than the rate at which it is being collected. You will keep having illegal dumps mushrooming. We must get to a point where we have more equipment for regular collection,” he said.


Ashaiman pupils cry over ‘toxic’ dump site near school

By: Elvis Washingon,

Pupils of the Ashaiman Presby A and B basic schools, are appealing to the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly to close down a major refuse damp which is very close to the school.

According to the pupils, they have no choice than to go home earlier than the normal closing time due to the smoke that emanates from the dumping site.

Apart from that, they say they have to put up with house flies in their classrooms as a result of the proximity to the dumping site.

The pupils who spoke to Citi News noted that, the situation makes learning difficult and uncomfortable.

“We don’t feel like schooling here anymore because we don’t like the smell that comes from the dumping site as well as the houseflies and the smoke. All the time, we have to inhale the thick toxic smoke and be killing houseflies with our bare hands. Our school uniforms are always smelly because of the problem we face here. Just yesterday one of our friends collapsed because the smoke was very thick and it lasted all through our school hours” they complained

A teacher who spoke to Citi News on condition of anonymity also noted that, they have petitioned the Municipal Assembly several times but to no avail.

He said “our school often than not closes the kids earlier than the normal closing hours because even we the teachers just cannot take the smoke and the stench from the site. Most of us teachers are contemplating leaving the school because our health is at stake”

Meanwhile Citi News has gathered that the pupils last week staged a mini demonstration when the Greater Accra Regional Minister Ishmael Ashitey paid a working visit to Ashaiman.

They appealed to the Regional Minister to as a matter of urgency order the Assembly to relocate the dumping site since it is having a negative effect on their health.


Germany commits €25m to tackle environmental impact of electronic waste

Germany and Ghana have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the field of electronic waste management and recycling.

Seeing the environment and especially the recycling of electronic devices mostly produced outside of Ghana as a shared responsibility, the Federal government of Germany decided to commit €25,000,000.

This is to alleviate the environmental impact of electronic waste in the country and improve the working conditions of people in the sector.

The “Hazardous and Electronic Waste Law” passed in 2016 sets the legal framework for the German-Ghanaian engagement.

A statement from the German Embassy in Ghana said, “Germany wishes to use the opportunity to congratulate Ghana on passing this ground-breaking law, which translates the Basel convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal into national law.”

The statement noted that Germany will commit €5,000,000 for a Technical Cooperation program through the implementing agency GIZ, which will focus on improving the working conditions of workers along the electronic waste value chain.

The move will support the private sector engagement in recycling industries and also develop the framework conditions to implement the law.

“Furthermore, €20,000,000 (through the KfW Development bank) will be dedicated to the establishment of an incentive mechanism for sound collection and recycling of e-waste as well as for a collection centre of the Government of Ghana.

“Both elements of the programme are intended to prepare the establishment of the Ghanaian recycling fund as stipulated in the E-Waste-Law,” the statement added.

The commitment for the e-waste collection and recycling mechanism will be announced with the official handing-over of a Note Verbal to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation on March 13.

The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, as well as the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ghana, Christoph Retzlaff, will be the keynote speakers at the event.



Keep America Beautiful Joins Corporate Partners to Boost Recycling in Flint, Mich., Schools

U.S. Department of Agriculture

The new initiative provides funding for a multi-tiered educational approach aimed at increasing the number of plastic bottles that are recycled within school grounds as well as create opportunities to provide students, teachers and staff with the knowledge and the passion to recycle at home, at school and on-the-go.

The Coca-Cola Company, Nestlé Waters North America, the PepsiCo Foundation and the Walmart Foundation today announced that they have partnered to fund an integrated recycling education and awareness initiative for the 10,000 school students affected by the Flint water crisis, led by national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful and its local Flint, Mich., affiliate Keep Genesee County Beautiful (KGCB).

In January 2016, the four companies announced they would provide up to 6.5 million bottles of safe and clean drinking water to Flint school students. From the outset of the program, they have been providing for the storage and delivery of the bottled water, as well as the transporting of the empty water bottles for recycling.

The new initiative provides funding for a multi-tiered educational approach aimed at increasing the number of plastic bottles that are recycled within school grounds as well as create opportunities to provide students, teachers and staff with the knowledge and the passion to recycle at home, at school and on-the-go.

“Keep America Beautiful is thrilled to receive broad support from a host of partners in our efforts to educate, motivate and activate Flint’s students, teachers and the broader school community to properly recycle the tremendous amount of material that is being generated,” said Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, Keep America Beautiful. “This is a great opportunity for us to work closely with Keep Genesee County Beautiful to make a meaningful difference in improving recycling throughout Flint and to teach the next generation of environmental stewards the benefits of recycling and how to recycle right.”

The K-12 school-based program objectives are to:

  • Provide outreach, tools, resources and activities to educate, motivate and activate students, staff and teachers to recycle more and recycle right;
  • Organize, support and share resources with recycling champions at each school to support day-to-day recycling efforts;
  • Share best practices and support school personnel responsible for collecting and consolidating recycling at each school on proper recycling bin placement, signage and collection of the recyclables; and
  • Track and report the amount of recyclables being collected by the schools with the goal of achieving a 25 percent increase in recycling.

“Promoting recycling education and infrastructure to Flint schools in partnership with Keep America Beautiful is important and something we are actively engaged in,” said Aaron Stallings, Walmart Market Manager for the North Central Division. “We see this program contributing to a more resilient and sustainable Flint.”

“The Coca-Cola Company understands the importance of ongoing support for the residents of the City of Flint. Providing water for daily use was the first step and the promotion of recycling and recycling education round out this support,” said Bruce Karas, Vice President, Environment and Sustainability, The Coca-Cola Company North America. “We must all do our part to ensure that residents’ needs are met and the City of Flint returns to the viable and vibrant city we all know it can be.”
“Water is a human right and as soon as the PepsiCo team learned about Flint and their drinking water supply, we reached out to be part of creating sustainable, local solutions,” said Tim Carey, Senior Director Sustainability and Recycling, PepsiCo. “We all want to be part of communities with abundant natural resources so PepsiCo is pleased to support the City of Flint and other partners to give back to Genesee County. We’re striving to collect every bottle and every can as part of this powerful partnership.”
“Access to clean, safe drinking water is the right of every man, woman and child. That is why helping our neighbors in Flint is something we’ve been proud to do,” said Nelson Switzer, Chief Sustainability Officer for Nestlé Waters North America. “But our shared commitment doesn’t end there.  We now need to work together so the bottles the coalition used to deliver safe drinking water are recovered and recycled.  Together with our coalition partners and the families of Flint, we are very pleased to kick-start a massive recycling opportunity.”

Keep America Beautiful is working in tandem with KGCB to tailor the recycling educational lesson plans, tools and activities for Flint’s students, while ongoing recycling education and program implementation is being conducted by KGCB staff and volunteers. Resources include take-home materials in an effort to bring the school education and experience home, reaching families in their residences to also enhance curbside recycling participation.

“Since this crisis began, Keep Genesee County Beautiful has been the ‘go-to’ recycling resource for the Flint community. We help Flint residents cope with the water crisis by raising awareness and educating residents about the benefits of recycling, by signing up residents for curbside recycling and being a pickup point for recycling bins,” said Karen West, Program Director/Lead Consultant, KGCB. “We are incredibly grateful for this financial support and appreciate the opportunity to work with Keep America Beautiful and the students and staff of Flint schools to encourage, educate and engage the community in recycling.”

Keep America Beautiful is providing materials from its Waste in Place curriculum; its “I Want To Be Recycled” public service advertising campaign; Recycle-Bowl, its national in-school K-12 recycling competition; America Recycles Day and other resources as part of the overall programming to improve the in-school recycling rate.



Samsung and Greenpeace: what you need to know about e-waste

Discarded mobile phones

Greenpeace claims Samsung has 4.3m smartphones to dispose of after its Galaxy Note 7 recall. What’s the responsible way to recycle them?


At the smartphone world’s annual shindig in Barcelona, there are some things the tech giants have been trying to get people talking about – the relaunch of the Nokia 3310, BlackBerry’s new fingerprint scanner, Samsung’s virtual reality headset.

But there’s another, less glamorous story that they haven’t been so keen to promote. And that concerns the fate of their gadgets when consumers have finished with them.

On Sunday, Greenpeace interrupted a Samsung press conference to protest the company’s failure to produce a recycling plan for the defective Galaxy Note 7, recalled last year due to fire risk. The campaign group claims Samsung has 4.3m handsets to get rid of.

A Samsung spokesperson has since said the company is working “to ensure a responsible disposal plan” for its defunct phones, and prioritising safety and environment. But if the piled up Galaxy Note 7s go the same way as the rest of our old smartphones, computers and tablets, where might they end up?

Sending e-waste offshore

Since the start of 2017, we have thrown out more than 6.4m tonnes of electronic goods, according to The World Counts, a website keeping a live tally of global e-waste. If past patterns are any judge, not much of this will get properly recycled: less than a sixth of the e-waste discarded around the world in 2014 was dealt with in this way, says the UN.

Even in developed countries with advanced infrastructure, electronics recycling rates are low. The US recycled just 29% (pdf) of the 3.4m tonnes of e-waste it produced in 2012, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, while the rest was sent to landfill or incinerated.

“Our recycling rates for electronics are abysmal,” says Jim Puckett, executive director and founder of the Basel Action Network (BAN), an NGO. He estimates that 5% of metals used in electronics are recycled, at most.

When products are handed over for recycling, a portion end up in informal recycling hotspots in developing countries, such as Accra in Ghana or parts of southern China, where they are broken down in an uncontrolled environment, Puckett explains. UN figures suggest up to 90% of the world’s e-waste is illegally dumped.

“We sweep everything to developing countries where they have the least infrastructure and efficient recycling,” says Puckett.

In a recent experiment, BAN placed GPS trackers on 205 old printers and monitors to see what happened to them. Of the devices handed over for recycling, 40% were sent offshore, mostly to Asia. BAN’s team followed 37 of them to Hong Kong, where it found workers breaking down electronics by hand in informal junkyards.

E-waste recycler in China.
An e-waste recycler in Guangdong China heats plastic to determine the material according to smell. Photograph: Kai Loeffelbein/laif

This kind of unregulated processing of e-waste carries severe consequences for environment and human health, including air pollution when circuit boards are heated to access the metals, soil pollution as chemicals seep into the earth, and water pollution as toxic materials get into groundwater and other supplies.

Lost value

Recycling failures also lead to a waste of precious materials, like gold, copper and platinum. This not only means that fresh supplies are mined unnecessarily, but also that money is wasted through missed recycling opportunities. Potential revenues from e-waste recycling in the European market in 2014 were as high as 2bn euros, estimates Sheffield University’s centre for energy, environment and sustainability.

Companies including Microsoft and Dell have sought to address their e-waste footprint by partnering with third-party organisations like Goodwill, which sells or recycles donated electronics. Last year Apple unveiled a recycling robot called Liam, who it says can take apart an iPhone in 11 seconds.

More recent ideas have included a mobile phone offset scheme, launched on Tuesday by recycling company Sims Recycling Solutions and Dutch social enterprise Closing the Loop. They promise to remove one phone from an e-waste dump for every phone used by the scheme’s customers, including ING Bank.

Puckett believes more systemic change is needed, however. When it comes to tackling the sheer quantity of discarded electronics, he says progress will only come via market-based incentives for longer-lasting electronics. A system where electronics are leased out rather than bought and sold, for example, would incentivise companies to make products last as long as possible, he says.



Poor Sanitation, A Menace In Ghana Today


Take a stroll through the principal streets of our major cities and towns in our country daily and you are likely to be greeted with heaps of refuse, dumped along various sections of the road, with its musky smell polluting all the corridors of the environment. Isn’t it worrying to see such unpleasant scenes in our capital cities, market squares, lorry parks,and other public places? Have we ever thought about the consequences that will befall us as nation if this activity is to continue? Can we find lasting solutions to this problem? There is the need for us to strive higher and reverse this horrific situation.

Negative attitude of some Ghanaians , inadequate centralized places of disposing filth, lackadaisical attitudes of some organization and institutions responsible for disposingrubbish ,etc are few causes that make rise to poor sanitation in our country.

It is very clear that a major challenge facing the various Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies is depositing sites where the waste generated from the public domain could be disposed. This is a major reason why we usually see heaps of trash ‘decorating’ our public centers. The various Assemblies do not know where to send these filth and as a result, leave them there until other alternatives are sought. This situation is worrying-some ,especially where the the piled-up refuse is situated closer to a market place. The dangers it poses to human life and health is quite threatening. This will continue to be a threat and a major challenge to the various assemblies so far as we refuse to think outside the box. The irony part of this whole situation is, that the task force assigned to take money from hawkers and market women and issue a ticket to them do not compromise in delivering their duty. They get to the latter to exhaust the monies from the poor tomatoes seller, the ice water seller,the roasted plantain seller, the ‘koko’ and ‘koose’ seller, among others in aid of keeping the environment and the entire country clean. What do we see then? The converse is what happens. Who is accountable for the monies collected ? Why then do these market women have to sit in the refuse and sell their wears although they have faithfully adhered to their part of the contract? We can go on and ask these questions, over and over and over again and we may never get the answers we need. Some heads must certainly roll at the various MMD’s Assemblies in other to curb this striking challenge.

Another reason that significantly contributes to the poor sanitation in Ghana is the negative attitudes of some Ghanaians. As illiterate as some of us are,blindly throw rubbish anywhere, anyhow and at anytime. Filth ranging from water sachets, to polythene bags, food containers and carriers, plastic bottles, canned drinks , papers, food items,etc are almost found everywhere especially in our so called big cities and towns. Conversely, sanitation in our villages and small towns are quite commendable as compared to the the major trading towns where we assume its residents are highly civilized. The worse form is found in our beloved National Capital, Accra and her trading partner-Kumasi. This situation is very alarming and stringent measures should be put in place to check this.

We do not need a soothsayers advice before we desist from such acts as its effects is very frightening and turns out to be a punishment in return. I am not amaze at the rate at which we get infected with malaria and cholera in our country. Statistics have shown that in every year, about …………. People are stroked down by these two dreadful diseases of which about …..people, both adults and youngsters loosing their lives. What can be more risky and menacing than something which causes others to loose their lives?

On another instance, flooding which we are cognizant with in our various regional capitals and towns in Ghana could not attributed to a natural phenomenon, but poor sanitation in Ghana. We do experience such situations because of our own careless attitudes. We dispose trash everywhere including water pits and drains. As a result of this, the water is not able to move freely as it should when it rains. The gutters eventually get chocked, making the water to overflow its bounds and automatically causes the entire place to flood. We are very much aware of the effects flooding has go on our lives and properties and we should not joke wit h such pertinent issues.

In our quest to maintain a clean and civic environment, it behooves all of us to perform our quota of responsibilities to ensure this. The government ,, the various Metropolitan, Municipal,and District Assemblies and the ordinary Ghanaian has got major task to play so our dream of having a clean and synthesized environment would materialize.

The government in her quest to put a stop to this should enact restrictive laws about sanitation and should keenly make sure that they are enforced to the latter. On another breadth, the government should make sure that all funds allocated to the various assemblies would be sent in time so those portioned for sanitation would also be used adequately to bring effective results.

The MMD’s Assemblies should also try their possible best to find lasting solutions to how refuse could be displaced. They can result to these modern technologies available in recycling waste to the benefit of the citizenry so this issue of sites for disposing refuse wouldn’t be news anymore. To our dear countrymen and citizens, Ghana is for all of us . And we decide on what and how our country should be. If we want Ghana to attain greater heights in development and sanitation, it is our sole responsibility to eschew all negative attitudes we have in regards to sanitation. Let us proceed in truth and unity to make our nation proud.




Indonesia Pledges to Reduce Marine Waste by 70% by 2025


Nusa Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia. A snorkeller swims alongside a manta ray surrounded by plastic trash in December 2014.

Nusa Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia. A snorkeller swims alongside a manta ray surrounded by plastic trash in December 2014. Photograph: Nick Pumphrey/


Indonesia has pledged up to $1bn a year to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic and other waste products polluting its waters. The announcement was made by Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for maritime affairs at last week’s 2017 World Oceans Summit in Nusa Dua, Bali.

Pandjaitan told delegates at the conference that Indonesia would achieve a 70% reduction in marine waste within eight years. He proposed developing new industries that use biodegradable materials such as cassava and seaweed to produce plastic alternatives. Other measures could include a nationwide tax on plastic bags as well as a sustained public education campaign.

The World Bank estimates that each of Indonesia’s 250 million inhabitants is responsible for between 0.8 and 1kg of plastic waste per annum. Only China dumps more waste in the ocean, according to a 2015 report in the journal Science.

The world’s second biggest plastic polluter also boasts the world’s highest levels of marine biodiversity. Indonesia lies at the heart of the Coral Triangle; its incredibly rich coral reef ecosystems support crucial fisheries, provide food security for millions and are a growing draw for tourists.

Plastic pollution is just one of the threats to these ecosystems services, but it’s a serious one. A recent study suggests that by 2050, there could be more plastic than biomass in the world’s oceans. Plastics have entered the marine food chain and are already reaching our dinner plates.

Indonesia’s commitment is part of the UN’s new Clean Seas campaign, which aims to tackle consumer plastics through a range of actions – from cutting down on single use plastics such as shopping bags and coffee cups to pressuring firms to cut down on plastic packaging. Nine countries have already joined Indonesia in signing up to the campaign, including Uruguay, which will impose a tax on single use plastic bags and Costa Rica, which is promising better waste management and education.

Indonesian men collect plastic rubbish for recycling on the Citarum river
Indonesian men collect plastic rubbish for recycling on the Citarum river, in Cimahi, West Java. Photograph: Dadang Tri / Reuters/Reuters

But Indonesia’s target of a 70% reduction by 2025 is ambitious. Across the country’s 17,000 islands there is poor public understanding of the problems created by plastic waste.

Companies produce small scale products such as single use shampoo packets and confectionery that are popular in communities where cash flow pressures and habit prevent more sustainable consumption. Add poor waste management infrastructure and the scale of the challenge comes into sharp focus.

During rainy season, thousands of tonnes of rubbish discarded in rivers and waterways washes up on Indonesia’s shores. Heavy machinery is often brought in to clear the tourist beaches of Bali and local communities and non-profits are constantly organising large scale beach clean ups.

Last year, a tax on single use plastic bags was trialed in 23 cities across Indonesia. While the government reported a big reduction in plastic bag use, there was significant resistance both from consumers and industry, according to Siti Nurbaya, Indonesia’s minister for the environment. This is delaying a bill to impose a nationwide tax of not less than Rp.200 (1p) per plastic bag.

Environmentalists will be hoping that the promised funding effectively channels resources and expertise into public awareness and education programmes, improvements in waste management, pressure on industry and initiatives that encourage alternatives to plastic packaging.

The UN campaign reminds us all, however, that plastic pollution is a problems we can all address with some very simple changes in behaviour.