Friday, 02 September 2016 00:00

Yogya Waste Banks and Schools Build Waste Management Skills

Yogyakarta, 24-25 March 2015. Waste banks, where people can exchange their non-organic solid waste for money, are becoming a profitable solution to the piles of toxic trash that often pollute Indonesian towns and cities, including the ancient temple city of Yogyakarta. Supporting this development, Yogyakarta City Environmental Agency (Badan Lingkungan Hidup, BLH) and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF), assisted by GIZ PAKLIM Work Area 3, have held a two-day waste management workshop to provide relevant technical skills to waste bank groups and school communities. Among the participants were teachers from waste management pilot project schools, representatives of local non-government organizations and waste bank groups, as well as officials from BLH Yogyakarta City, BLH Malang and MoEF. They all gained valuable knowledge of the social, economic and organizational aspects of waste management. They also learned about challenges and opportunities in sustainable development of the program. The workshop underlined that waste management should be seen not as an isolated activity, but as a holistic approach that is essential for improving communities. Waste banks reduce land pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and are also a business that can provide households and communities with additional income. Opening the workshop were the Head of the MoEF Waste Control Division, Mr. Agus Saefudin, and the Head of BLH Yogyakarta City, Mr. Irfan Susilo. They noted that waste banks provide: (1) environmental value, (2) social value and (3) economic value. Both men emphasized the importance of waste bank activities, which are gaining increasing public awareness and participation, including from the urban poor. On the first day of the workshop, participants learned how waste bank activities can solve social issues, and practiced identifying waste bank strategies for further development. They then considered how communities and schools can reinforce waste management teamwork. On the second day, participants were trained to calculate the carbon emissions of waste. This enabled them to measure how far their activities contribute to reducing carbon emissions, so they can implement regular monitoring and measurement. At the end of the workshop, participants and waste bank facilitators agreed to develop a system for all members to communicate effectively in improving waste banks. They also formulated a simple action plan on waste bank activity and carbon emissions calculations. The workshop is expected to empower schools and waste bank groups to better protect the environment. Skills gained by participants will help to build a standardized and integrated program on climate change issues and waste data. The workshop should also raise public participation in the formulation of waste management policies and strategies, including the ongoing development of waste bank organizations.