Indonesia’s Waste Crisis: Threats to Tourism, Health, and the Economy


A pile of trash dumped near city forest in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Credit: Finlan Aldan

Indonesia is facing a significant waste management challenge due to rapid population growth and economic development. This increase in waste production poses serious threats to the country’s natural environment and the health of its people.

Every day, Indonesia deals with large amounts of waste, mainly coming from poorly managed household waste. The overflowing landfills present significant environmental risks and contribute to widespread air pollution, worsened by the harmful substances released during open burning. As a result, public health is at risk from both infectious and non-communicable diseases, particularly respiratory issues. Furthermore, the consequences of neglecting proper waste management are far-reaching, including environmental degradation that disrupts fragile ecosystems and undermines the important tourism industry. Urgent action is needed to implement comprehensive waste management strategies, including restless effort in raising public awareness, transitioning to a circular economy model, and investing in essential infrastructure.

A key aspect of this approach is reducing waste generation through responsible consumption practices and the widespread use of reusable products. Developing effective recycling and/or composting facilities is also crucial in order to valorize the generated waste. Additionally, the waste management sector has the potential to create many job opportunities, contributing to economic growth.

Achieving these goals requires collaboration between government, businesses, and individuals. By working together and combining resources and expertise, Indonesia can overcome its waste management challenges and move towards a sustainable future characterized by environmental protection and improved public health.


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