Industrial Pollution And the Disposal Of Plastic Waste

Source: Illustration of pollution and plastic waste on water. Photo by Yogendra Singh from Pexels

Since the 1970s, pollution has been a problem in Indonesia. One example of the many cities in Indonesia impacted by pollutions is Sidoarjo. The situation in Sidoarjo was caused by industrialization in the early New Order period when Soeharto focused on economic development by advancing the manufacturing industry. Various pollutions emerged such as water pollution, air pollution, land pollution and noise pollution. Pollution became significantly widespread in the mid 1970s and it happened in Semarang (sugar factory pollution), Surabaya (Mas River) and Sidoarjo (Mangaten Kanal River). Pollution cases in Sidoarjo recurrently happen until today and it created a man-made disaster like Lapindo mudflow (Ridho’I, 2017).

After China, Indonesia is the world’s second greatest source of marine plastic. In Indonesia, plastic garbage, along with poisonous smoke from widespread unregulated trash burning in households and businesses, pose serious public health risks (Northcott, 2020). While there have been some government regulations that attempt to control this problem, the waste of plastic remains a dangerous issue for the environment and people of Indonesia. Non-profit organisations are now available all around Indonesia to find solutions and help the government in this never-ending nightmare. 

Causes and Effects

Almost all over the world, the environment is one of the main problems today. A lot of damage occurred due to the increasing rate of industrial growth. According to the Environmental Protective Agency, more than 50% of environmental damage is caused by industry. Starting from the air, soil, and water pollution, to industrial waste. The impact of industrial pollution that is felt today is global warming. There is an increase in the earth’s temperature due to the greenhouse effect. This is a natural process that occurs to keep the earth warm, but as a result, the use of private vehicles, industrial factory activities, and illegal logging causes the production of CO2 and methane gas to increase and damage the earth’s atmosphere. This causes solar radiation to enter the earth and make the earth hotter.

In addition, plastic waste also contributes to environmental damage. The reason is excessive consumption of plastic, so the amount of plastic waste is increasing. Plastic is difficult to degrade and takes 100 to 500 years to decompose. Plastic bag waste can pollute the soil, water, sea, and even the air. This can lead to flooding because plastic waste that accumulates in the river will make the river flow clogged and when it rains it will overflow. In addition, it will also emit an unpleasant odour. Therefore, the impact of industrial activities will greatly affect environmental damage if it is not maintained and managed properly.

Solutions for Plastic Waste Issue

The main problem of the disposal of plastic waste in Indonesia is the irresponsible human behaviour in disposing of plastic. Local Indonesians must play a significant role in starting movements and increasing awareness. To solve this problem, the government has taken the most important steps to end the crisis of plastic waste in Indonesia. The island of Bali banned all single-use plastics and the capital of Jakarta also banned single-use plastic bags in its shopping centres and street markets. Here are five ways that can change the way plastic is produced, used and disposed of.

  1. Segregation
    Segregation is the key for effective waste disposal. Dividing waste into different elements can help keep the environment clean. For example, plastic is to be kept separately from the liquid and organic waste, so that it is easy to hand it over for recycling.
  1. Reduce or replace plastic use by avoiding single-use plastics
    Some plastic products that are often used in single use are straw, plastic bags, bubble wrap, etc. The best way to handle this case is you can use the reusable versions of those products.
  1. Rethink the design of plastic products and packaging to allow for multiple-use and recycling
    Some companies have to think carefully about the design of plastic products and plastic packaging, so that these products are reusable, easy to recycle and environmentally friendly.
  1. Build or expand safe waste disposal facilities
    These facilities will allow us to safely dispose of non-recyclable plastic materials or plastic waste generated in remote locations that do not have recycling facilities.
  1. Participate in (or organise) a beach or river cleanup
    This is done because plastic waste is often found on beaches or rivers which can have an impact on humans or animals around the area.

Solutions for Industrial Pollution Issue

Nearly 1 million people die each year in Indonesia from exposure to toxic air from industrial pollution, making it the country with the fourth-highest number of premature pollution-related deaths in the world. The problem of industrial pollution is of paramount importance to every country on the planet. With the harmful effects of industrial pollution increasing, many authorities and individuals are working to reduce their carbon footprint and live and work in an environmentally friendly way. However, industrial pollution is still widespread and will take years to be properly controlled and regulated. There are many steps that can be taken to find a permanent solution to the problem.

  1. Source Control
    Adopting new technologies, effectively training employees on how to use them safely, developing better waste disposal techniques and more careful use of raw materials can help control industrial pollution at its source.
  2. Proper disposal of industrial waste
    Environmental pollution can be reduced by developing and implementing appropriate industrial waste treatment facilities and proper practices.
  3. Stricter laws and enforcementThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to repair the damage caused by industrial pollution. There should be stricter rules to crack down on companies that don’t follow proper protocols and provide bigger incentives for those that do. It requires policies to prevent the misuse of land.
  4. Emissions of toxic organic compounds from non-pesticide applications
    This should be reduced by setting stringent emission and ecotoxicity standards in cap-and-trade systems that can be phased out. Ideally, this would ultimately result in zero emissions, as most organic compounds can be broken down by microorganisms and thus effectively disposed of. If the compound is found to be too toxic, a blanket ban should be imposed.
  5. Physical and chemical reductions in bioavailability must be protected
    Preferably through irreversible degradation, so that contaminants cannot be released again.


Adinda Nada Shafa, Yolanda Pradeshti Ardian, Amandea Fateha, Annisa Rahma Sari