Launching of the Church-based Waste Charity Movement

March 9, 2022

To strengthen the synergy between religious approach and environmental awareness, UNDP Indonesia’s Marine Plastic Litter Secretariat is collaborating with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) and the Catholic Church of the Diocese of Bogor to initiate Church-based Waste Charity Movement. This Movement, that is also supported by the Mayora Group - Le Minerale and the Plastic Recycling Association of Indonesia (ADUPI) was officially launched on Thursday, March 3, 2022, at the BMV Parish Catholic Church, Bogor Cathedral, West Java.

This launching event aimed to increase the awareness and educate the public through a religious approach on the importance of reducing waste. The other purpose of the event is to build partnerships between the Catholic Church and various parties for a better waste collection for the sake of ecological repentance and a circular economy approach implementation in sustainable waste management. This event invited representatives from several other Catholic Churches to inspire other churches to join this Church-based Waste Charity Movement.

The join this movement, people needs to sort and separate household waste first, especially those that have economic value such as paper, cans, plastic and metal. Next, the people bring the trash to the church and put them in the drop box provided by the church. The ecology commission of the church will then receive, weigh, and record the waste that is already in the drop box. The waste will then be distributed to off-takers who are willing to buy the waste for the recycling industry.

This event received many positive supports from the involved parties. Mgr. Paskalis Bruno Syukur as the Bishop of Bogor said "This movement is a form of ecological repentance. By being responsible of our garbage, we prove that we are taking care of the environment as instructed by our religion”. Rosa Vivien Ratnawati, the Director General of Solid Waste, Waste, and Toxic and Hazardous Substances Management, MoEF, added that “Waste management activities can become activities that bring together and glue each other across different religions and cultures. We are targeting that through this movement can support the goal of reducing waste by to 30% in 2025”. Bima Arya, the Mayor of Bogor, said that “Theological approaches like this are an effort to complement the cultural approach in managing waste. In the end, this kind of activity will strengthen our nationality, with its various different backgrounds, to better manage Indonesian waste”.

Currently there are five churches under the Diocese of Bogor and five other churches in Jakarta area that have carried out this movement, and this number is expected to continue to increase in the future. These churches’ initiatives have been recorded in the monitoring system for this Movement. Ahmad Bahri Rambe, the National Project Coordinator of Marine Plastic Secretariat conveyed, “The development of the system aims to monitor and measure the achievements of the waste collected from the participating churches. Periodically, we will report the churches’ collected waste so that they can be calculated as part of the achievements of the 30% waste reduction target and 70% marine debris handling target in 2025."

This movement also received a lot of positive responses from the surrounding community, and it is hoped that it can be applied by other Catholic churches throughout Indonesia. This Movement is expected to not only support better waste reduction and management in the community, but also to increase individual awareness and maximize the role of the Catholic Church as one of the important elements of the nation in creating changes in mindset and behaviour of its people in viewing and managing waste.