AUDITING WASTE WITH YOUTH ACTIVISTS
Plastic waste has always been the main problem of environmental pollution. Quoting from Tempo.co, a study conducted by Travis P. Wagner (2017) estimates that the world community throws away five trillion plastic bags waste every year. In fact, on average, we only use plastic bags for 12 minutes before they end up in the trash.
To support the government's program to overcome plastic problems, WWF-Indonesia runs the Plastic Smart Cities (PSC) campaign initiative. The PSC program has a target of reducing plastic leakage into nature by 30%. Currently, the PSC program is working with the city governments of Bogor, Depok, and DKI Jakarta.
Not only working with the city government, WWF-Indonesia through the PSC program, collaborates with 200 youths to join the Youth Activist program. Youth activists are a group of young people who will become agents of change to campaign for the PSC program in their immediate environment and on digital platforms.
In July 2023, 200 Youth Activists had the opportunity to attend the inaugural meeting with their mentors. This meeting was designed to motivate the Youth Activists to take action as individuals, starting with waste reduction and waste management.
During the day, the Youth Activists participated in a number of group activities and games specifically designed to build emotional bonds with their peers, while the mentors who accompanied them during the activities were tasked with raising the spirits of the youth activists to be motivated and ready to start a sustainable lifestyle.
Aulia Putri, one of the Youth Activist training participants, shared that she often orders food online due to her busy schedule. She had been doing this for about 3 months. However, Aulia felt something was wrong. This 22-year-old woman often looked at the trash box and realized the pile of plastic waste she produced. Generally, restaurants that sell food online always use plastic wrap. The more food we order, the more plastic waste will be generated.
The awareness to manage waste came even more when Aulia learned about Indonesia's latest waste data. A total of 64 million tons of waste per year is generated by 274 million people. She feels that it takes at least half of Indonesia's population to be determined to reduce plastic waste around them. So, this woman who has a hobby of listening to rock music decided to become one of the people who care about the environment, one of which is by becoming a Youth Activist participant.
The Youth Activist program is conducted from July to December 2023. During the six months, there are several activities that must be followed by Youth Activists. Some of them are monitoring the program with mentors in their respective groups, personal waste audits, and inviting five people closest to them to voluntarily conduct waste audits as well. Another activity is to take part in the 40-day challenge to reduce plastic waste and invite as many friends, relatives, or followers on social media to follow the actions mentioned above.
Not only taking real action, but Youth Activists also carry out a series of digital activation activities. The goal is to reach a wider public so that this positive action can be transmitted to many people. The hope is that through this activity, one youth can influence those around him to be more concerned about plastic waste and continue to reach more people.