Youth Speak Up on Various Environmental Issues

%When IKN Comes, Indigenous People Are Worried That Traditions Will Disappear%

A 2×4 meter billboard stood on the sidewalk in front of the Riau Governor’s Office, during the free-ride day, the morning of June 25. It contains eight demands of Riau’s young people on the state. There are issues of public transportation, waste management, enforcement of corporate laws destroying the environment, and a just clean energy transition.

Each of these demands is also displayed on a wooden stand supporting a lined frame. Beneath it, lined up 14 red and green umbrellas that showed the words: call for justice. On the shoulders of the sidewalk rest several pamphlets, containing warnings about the dangers of plastic waste. Lastly, a white cloth with the words: lucky city free of trash, stretched out on the asphalt.

Pedestrians, young and old, men, and women, who passed by took turns stringing signatures on the edge of the cloth. It is a form of support for young people.

The action of Riau’s youth is also filled with a bit of parody smelling of political promises. A person demonstrating himself as a candidate member of the legislature from one party. It was as if he was campaigning, accompanied by a successful team in front of workers, farmers, and fishermen. When receiving complaints from the lower classes, the candidate promised to improve the welfare of the poor.

The eight demands of Riau’s youth were born after they attended a seminar and workshop entitled Young People Who Speak, late last year.

This Gawe was attended by 28 students from Pekanbaru as an effort to mainstream the issue of climate justice and intergenerational justice.

“In my opinion, there are several ways to deal with climate change, such as planting large-scale trees, so that we can reduce global warming,” said Julihendri, who had just finished SMAN 5 Pekanbaru.

Fhara Dilla Risky, a student at SMAN 2 Pekanbaru, said that young people in Riau have the right to determine their future. Their demands are part of the struggle to achieve ecological justice for each generation.

He invites young people to be more sensitive to their surroundings. You can start with small things for big changes, such as always carrying a tumbler and tote bag when traveling. “To reduce environmental pollution from plastic waste.”

Claim surgery

One of the eight most prominent demands of Riau’s youth concerns waste management. In Pekanbaru, the district court stated that the city government was negligent in addressing the problem of solid waste left over from human daily activities.

Among other things, there are still very few temporary shelters, and lots of piles of waste that don’t fit into landfills that still apply the open dumping model, aka piled up in open areas.

The Pekanbaru City Government should have switched to a sanitary landfill system.  By throwing garbage in a hollow area alias buried in the ground. The most important thing, he said, is overcoming the waste problem upstream, namely, stopping the use of single-use plastics.

This demand stems from the problem of conflict between the community and natural resource extraction companies that still occur frequently. For example, the extraction of sea sand on Rupat Island was carried out by PT Logomas Utama, before finally being permanently stopped by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP).

In addition, the question of energy transition. Riau’s young people want fair energy that comes from clean energy, according to local energy availability conditions, and pay attention to aspects of community protection.

Riau’s youth reject the government’s plan to build a Garbage Power Plant (PLTSa). It is not clean renewable energy nor is it a solution to the waste problem. He said, it would pollute the air even more and of course have an impact on health no less bad than fossil energy.

The government’s energy transition plan, which is also rejected by Riau’s youth, is the construction of a biomass power plant sourced from palm shells. This target has the potential to open opportunities for companies and financiers to open new land for oil palm plantations.

The energy transition from dirty to clean is sustainable, he said, must ensure the aspect of justice for society. Don’t let it just be the slogan of new, renewable energy, but full of human rights violations or unsustainable, because it causes greater damage and land grabbing.

Efforts are being made collaboratively to promote the reduction of plastic waste

Even though wearing a costume made of disposable plastic waste sachets, Nadiatul Fadilah (23) is not ashamed to walk hand in hand with hundreds of mass actions that are members of a plastic-free collective campaign on Car Free Day on Jalan MH Thamrin, Jakarta, Sunday (30/07/2023).

The reason is that the plastic sachet packaging used was the result of a brand audit he conducted with his fellow nature-loving students on the coast of Marunda, North Jakarta, some time ago.

Due to his concern about finding garbage polluting the north coast of the capital, this student at the State Islamic University Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta took the initiative to take part in a parade initiated by several environmental activist organizations.

Not only the coast, Nadia admits that she also encountered the problem of plastic waste that pollutes the environment when she was walking along the river or during a hike.

On the same occasion, Vahrul David from Ocean Defender Indonesia said that since long ago, plastic did not bring pleasure. However, it led to disaster. According to him, the generation of plastic waste is increasing day by day.

Garbage Disturbing Fishermen

Meanwhile, Susi Pudjiastuti, Former Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said that the impact of waste that pollutes the oceans is not only disturbing marine life but can also overshadow fishermen who are fishing.

In addition to making fish difficult to catch, the impact caused by objects that are not easily decomposed naturally can result in fishermen’s fishing gear being damaged.

Therefore, he advised that there is no need to use disposable plastic straws for drinking. Likewise, with drinking, you have to bring your drinking bottle or tumbler.

One of the reasons for this parade being held is because the achievement of the government’s target of reducing waste by 30 percent, and handling waste by 70 percent by 2025 has not achieved significant results.

Abdul Ghofar, WALHI National Pollution and Urban Campaigner, said that to achieve significant results, waste management needs to be improved, because starting from planning, implementation, control, and evaluation are the keys to the problem of waste and plastic pollution structurally.

According to him, so far good waste management has not worked because of several things, such as waste management planning not being based on a comprehensive study.


Executive Director of the Indonesian Plastic Bag Diet Movement, Tiza Mafira said, to answer the problem of plastic pollution and create a plastic-free future, three demands were pressed by a combination of mass actions.

In this way, Tiza assesses that concrete efforts are needed from the government and producers to jointly create an ecosystem for reuse as it was in the past. If this ecosystem is realized and implemented by the whole community, he continued, Indonesia could become an example of a country that practices this solution.

As for the second demand, the government is encouraged to improve the waste management system. The steps include implementing policies based on the waste management hierarchy and increasing the waste management budget and infrastructure.

Muharram Atha Rasyadi, Urban Campaigner for Greenpeace Indonesia added, this form of responsibility involves reducing the use of single-use plastics, using environmentally friendly packaging, and implementing obligations to expand producer responsibilities, such as recycling or managing their products.

So far, he explained, there have been 42 producers who have submitted a roadmap for reducing waste in their packaging products to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

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