Press Release: ISWA launches Innovative Calculator to Manage Marine Litter

ISWA's Task Force on Marine Litter have been testing a ground-breaking calculator in Bali, where residents, tourists and organisations generate 1.6 million tonnes of waste per year, of which 303,000 tonnes is plastic. 33,000 tonnes of plastic are leaking into waterways from Bali every year.


The key outcomes from the study include:

  • Bali residents, tourists and organisations generate 1.6 million tonnes of waste per year (TPY), of which 303,000 tonnes is plastic (19.6% of total waste).33,000 tonnes of plastic are leaking into waterways from Bali every year (11% of total plastic waste).
  • Approximately 48% of Bali's waste is responsibly managed either through recycling or landfill. However, a significant portion of collected waste never reaches a recycling facility or any of Bali's 10 official landfills
  • 7% of Bali's plastic waste is collected for recycling, with 20% of household leveraging the informal sector to recycle their waste, and 6% using waste banks.
  • Each person of Bali's 16 million tourists (6 million international and 10 million domestic) generates 3.5x more waste per day than a Bali resident, the total waste generation from tourists account for 13% of Bali's total waste.
  • Bali residents are ready for change: 87% are willing to sort waste and are ready to make the effort to reduce, reuse and recycle. Focused effort to solving waste challenges in 15 of the 57 sub-districts of Bali will reduce Bali's ocean plastic by 44%.
  • More than 400 community, private-sector, government and cultural and religious organisations are active in clean-ups, education, waste collection, and recycling. They need support to focus their activities on the 15 sub-districts where the need is greatest.


"The ISWA Plastics Pollution Calculator is a major breakthrough that will help governments, regional authorities and municipalities in effectively and efficiently combating marine litter. Here in Bali, and for the very first time, we demonstrate that we have the scientific tools and the methodologies to measure marine litter origins and fate, and most importantly to suggest the local tailor-made solutions and policy interventions required to eliminate plastic pollutions," said Antonis Mavropoulos, International Solid Waste Association (ISWA).

"As marine litter seems to be becoming a planetary challenge, our work highlights the urgency of a strong international collaboration between governments, international stakeholders, experts and academic researchers to lead the efforts and empower a global response to act and stop plastic pollution."

Dr Costas Velis, Univeristy of Leeds and the Chair of ISWA Marine Litter Task Force says: "In this study, we applied data and systems analytics, arriving to unprecedented opportunities for evidence-based solutions. Knowing where plastics pollution comes from, suitable policy and engineering interventions can be prioritised."



Bali, Indonesia (20 June 2019) - The Bali Partnership, supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, today revealed findings from extensive waste and ocean plastic research across Bali to shape a comprehensive plan to end plastics pollution from the island. Bali's rapid economic growth and thriving tourism has led to growing levels of waste, with the island's waste management not always keeping pace. Among the findings, the results show just over 48% of waste generated in Bali, a popular tourist hotspot, is managed responsibly, either through recycling or landfill, while the rest is burned or pollutes land, waterways and the ocean. As a result, 33,000 tons of Bali's plastic waste ends up in the ocean each year.

The analysis is the result of a five-month research effort by the Bali Partnership, in collaboration with Governor I Wayan Koster's Waste Management Task Force and the provincial Environmental Agency (DLH). The Bali Partnership was created to stop ocean plastics pollution through circular waste management solutions and contribute to Indonesia's National Action Plan on Marine Plastic Debris, a commitment to reduce ocean plastics by 70% by 2025. In addition, this initiative also hopes to support the implementation of Bali government's policies in reducing plastic waste pollution and the regional policy and strategy on waste management (JAKSTRADA Pengelolaan Sampah).

"The island of Bali is small, but its significance is big. What happens in Bali will always be noticed by the world. In Bali we are now at the right moment to stop our ocean leakage," said Mr. Ida Bagus Mandhara Brasika of the Bali Governor's Waste Management Task Force. "We'll start from Bali and the impact will be global. I am optimistic the Bali Partnership can help significantly to reduce our island and the planet's waste problem."

The goal of the Bali Partnership is to support President Jokowi's goal of reducing ocean plastic levels 70% by bringing together the expertise and passion of the many organisations across Bali and applying it in a coordinated, focused way across the island's 57 sub-districts with the highest needs for intervention. The Bali Partnership research is the starting point for achieving this ambition: it shows how waste, particularly plastics, is disposed; the challenges and the opportunities for preventing plastic pollution; and the regions with the most urgent need of waste management and waste reduction support.

"Contributing to local solutions and working closely with local leadership in Indonesia, with the aim of ending the global challenge of ocean plastics is a priority for the Norwegian government," said Bjørnar Dahl Hotvedt, Charge d'Affaires to Indonesia from Norway, which supports projects to tackle ocean plastics in the country, including the Bali Partnership. "An evidence-based approach ensures the success of the Bali Partnership. We hope the Partnership can serve as a model for how different interests can come together to achieve a shared objective."

"There is nothing more important than integrity. The results of the research on ocean plastic leakage in Bali are a great way for us to see Bali in an honest way," said Ni Made Widiasari of the Governor's Waste Management Task Force. "This research helps us work with the facts to better focus our actions, as a way to take responsibility and show our love for the environment."

Addressing ocean plastic pollution is particularly important for Bali, where tourism is a critical driver of the economy, which could be affected if the challenge continues unabated. According to the Bali Tourism Board, more than 6.5 million international tourists visited the island in 2018, an increase of more than 10% from 2017. While waste management is an important local issue in Bali, ensuring proper management of plastic waste on the island, therefore, has far-reaching global implications.

In the next phase, the Bali Partnership will raise funding to conduct a pilot using this powerful, multi-stakeholder approach in one of the highest leakage sub-districts to ensure comprehensive waste management and stop ocean plastics pollution. The first phase of its work included the Bali Governor's Waste Management Task Force, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Environmental Agency of Bali Province, the University of Udayana, the University of Leeds, the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), and SYSTEMIQ.

"The world is struggling to answer the question: How do we stop ocean plastic pollution permanently and do so as quickly and cost efficiently as possible?" said Joi Danielson, Program Director, Ocean Plastics Asia, at SYSTEMIQ. "The Bali Partnership is our attempt at answering this question. Our aim is to bring the Balinese and international community together to solve the root causes behind this challenge, in Bali's highest pollution cities."


Survey Methodology:

Approximately 950 Balinese households were surveyed. 230 waste characterisation studies were conducted. 50 inland and 50 river litter surveys were administered. All Bali landfills were examined and tracked. Waste master plans and data from all regencies were analysed. In addition, numerous interviews of the environmental agencies and other government officials, non-governmental organistions, the private sector, associations, the informal recycling sector, and key individuals were conducted. The survey was organised by Udayana University, the University of Leeds, the Bali Governor's waste management task force and SYSTEMIQ in close coordination with the Environmental Agency of Bali Province.


"Now we have comprehensive data to support the government's commitment to reduce ocean plastics by 70% by 2025," said I Gede Hendrawan, Faculty of Marine Sciences and Fisheries Udayana University. "I believe the Bali Partnership program will give new hope for better ocean health, contribute to preserving Bali's beauty as well as the sustainability of its tourism industry and economy."

The data collected was used to map the flow of after-use plastic through the waste system and environment using the newly developed ISWA Plastic Pollution Calculator: This new tool was created by the University of Leeds on behalf of the International Solid Waste Association's Marine Litter Task Force and can for the first time map the flow of plastic waste from its sources. The Calculator can be applied to any region or country to identify the mechanisms of plastic leakage, key hotspots, and potential solutions.

"The entire Bali island is now benefiting from cutting-edge tools to prevent plastics pollution. Our research team, as part of water@leeds, created the Plastics Pollution Calculator, a novel methodology for quantifying sources, pathways and hotspots of plastic pollution, stemming from unmanaged solid waste," said Dr. Costas Velis. "In this study, we applied data and systems analytics, arriving to unprecedented opportunities for evidence-based solutions. Knowing where plastics pollution comes from, suitable policy and engineering interventions can be prioritised."


For more information, contact the Task Force Chair, Mr. Costas Velis.

The online mapping tool can be viewed here.