Addressing Trash Nightmare in Marapi Volcanic Mountain of West Sumatra Province: A Call to Action

The sample of policy brief

To:  The Governor of West Sumatra Province
From:  Winda Edelwis Zedilla 
Date:  April 2017

Statement of Issue:

Trash is annoying, It builds up mountainous landfills, fills the ocean with junk, litters space and pollutes the atmosphere. The mount Marapi is an active volcano and becomes one of the famous tourist spots in West Sumatra Province, Indonesia. The amount of climbers every month is always increased especially in the peak season such as holidays. The fact is, abundant people, come and leave their trash such as plastics or bottles because they are not well informed on its impact to the environment and tend to throw everything in random places. This problem escalated because there are no trash bins or trash bags on the way up to the volcano. Another problem is there is no awareness among climbers to take care of their own trash especially the climbers which come from other provinces which they think they have no responsibility to keep the volcano clean without trash. While other climbers also believe that their intention to keep the volcano clean is getting lower simply because the responsibility to clean up the trash should be under locals management since the climbers pay the amount of money in the first entrance as a contribution for the cleaning service.  

Policy Options:

Based United Nations’s SDG’s #13 on climate change there are three key components of sustainability which are firstly is environment by maintaining the earth’s life support system, secondly is social by maintaining community or civic capacity that fosters effective participation and equitable treatment of all stakeholders and lastly is economic aspect by maintaining an economic system that provides a ton declining standard of living for this and future generations.

A government in every regency of West Sumatra province mandate for implementing the Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (3R) principle in the management of trash in order to demonstrate the idea of clean and comfortable area in West Sumatra province (ANTARA, 2015) especially for the location where Marapi Volcano is located, the regulation should be applied through local government as well. The capability of reducing the trash volume will promote the re-use potential materials lifestyle through composting and recycling under the Act No.81/2012 which is concerning the process of household waste and rubbish. The local government can put landfills for five types of household waste at various strategic locations in the way up to the volcano such as hazardous waste, plastic waste, garbage cans, organic waste, and garbage cans bottles in order to make trash collection become a lot easier. Giving trash bags to every single climber in order to take care of their own trash as well as providing a row for a climber in case the trash can not fit their backpack they can simply tie it to their bag will be such an additional regulation to handle this problem effectively. Lastly, In order to monitor the progress of new regulation in dealing with this trash problem, the government has to evaluate the policy options continuously under the idea of capacity building platform in order to make sure the regulations still stand on the right track.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Since the implementation of this regulation seems so hard if only focus on government action, the involvement of local people in taking a part of this role is needed in order to consistently monitoring the climbers to not throw their trash randomly. The collaboration by demonstrating the real value of clean climbers by showing our respect to the environment needs to be demonstrated straight away in order to gather all participation of every single stakeholder such as climbing community which comes from some areas whether in West Sumatra province or even come from other provinces.
  • With the raising number of trash, sometimes people just burn the trash to eliminate it quickly and we acknowledge this action is totally dangerous for the forest and will increase the pollution as well. The government needs to stress the prohibition of burning trash by replacing it with the “barter method” by collecting the trash than sell it to get money to be used in purchasing trash bins and bags.
  • By seeing the improvement of technology nowadays, providing GPS in the maps to locate trash bins in order to inform the climbers where to throw their trash is a good idea. This GPS will stand as a new tool to access the location of trash bins in every single spot on the way up to the volcano. Since the signal to access the internet in Marapi volcano is not so bad, it will be so easy in applying this new technology to handle the trash problem.

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