Today’s Solutions: May 21, 2024

The problem of plastic pollution is largely perpetuated by a lack of education and awareness about what actually contributes to this worldwide issue, and what we, the people, can do to help.

To bring plastic pollution to the forefront of the minds of the public, activists in Indonesia have constructed a museum comprised of more than 10,000 discarded bottles, bags, straws, and single-use food packaging.

The team behind the museum, which is made up of environmental activists from Indonesia’s Ecological Observation and Wetlands Conservation group, spent months hauling plastic items out of local rivers and beaches, where people have made a habit of dumping their trash.

Even plastics that are “biodegradable” can take hundreds of years to completely break down, and scientists estimate that around 12.7 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year. By 2050, scientists say that there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish.

Since its opening last month in the town of Gresik in East Java province, the exhibit, called “Terowongan 4444,” or “4444 tunnel,” has made an impact on visitors who walk through a tunnel of thousands of plastic bottles, with the discarded pieces cascading ominously over them.

The museum highlights the threat that plastic pollution poses to marine life and ecosystems globally, and according to the group’s founder, Prigi Arisandi, the aim behind its construction is to inspire change among people who may not realize that they are part of the problem.

“By looking at how much waste there is here, I feel sad,” one visitor told Reuters, while another declared that he would “switch to a tote bag,” and “will use a tumbler,” when buying drinks.

Source image: Reuters/Prasto Wardoyo

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