Indonesians hit the beach in mass trash pick-up

Indonesian volunteers and civil servants scoured beaches for plastic rubbish and other debris. (AFP pic)

JAKARTA: Thousands of Indonesians combed trash-strewn beaches at the weekend in a nationwide bid to tackle the Southeast Asian nation’s mammoth marine waste problem.

As the country celebrated its 74th independence day anniversary, volunteers and civil servants scoured for plastic rubbish and other debris, collecting truckloads of trash across the 17,000 island archipelago.

Numbers were still being tabulated, but it was estimated that tens of thousands of people took part in the initiative – with hundreds of tonnes of rubbish collected, according to Pandu Laut Nasional, the event’s coordinator.

Indonesia is the world’s second-biggest contributor to marine debris after China and pledged to reduce marine plastic waste by 70% by 2025.

A string of initiatives have been rolled out to fight the scourge of plastic waste.

Bus passengers in Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya can now swap recyclable plastics for free local travel, while holiday hotspot Bali is rolling out a single-use plastics ban.