Local Wisdom the Key to Waste Management during COVID-19 Pandemic

13-07-2020 / B.K.S.A.P.

Vice Chairperson of BKSAP Putu Supadma Rudana attends online joint dialogue on waste management in the context of COVID-19 pandemic, Monday (13/7/2020). Photo : Andri/Man


The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN (ERIA) held on Monday (13/7/2020) a virtual meeting “Online Joint Dialogue on Waste Management in the Context of COVID-19 Pandemic” to implement the 40th AIPA General Assembly resolutions on waste management in ASEAN countries to achieve sustainable development goals.


Deputy Chair of the Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation (BKSAP) of the Indonesian House of Representatives, Putu Supadma Rudana, and Member of the BKSAP Dyah Roro Esti represented Indonesia in the meeting, which was also joined by legislators from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, dan Viet Nam. They had a thorough discussion on urban waste management and the increasing medical waste amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


The stay-at-home order, data shows, has resulted in an increase of household plastic waste as online shopping rose dramatically. Medical workers’ protective gear in hospitals and medical waste from COVID-19 patients also contributed to the soaring volumes of medical waste.


Regarding the issues, Rudana outlined the importance of local wisdom in achieving the sustainable development goals. Balinese people, for example, has been traditionally observing the tri hita karana principle, which represents harmonious relationships between humans, human and God, and human and nature, in order to preserve the environment, particularly in the waste management system, he said.


"Bali has gradually reduced plastic waste since 2018 and this year it has been completely plastic-free. In the implementation of such policies, parliaments play a prominent role in carrying out its oversight function over government's performance in waste management, as well as the budgeting function in ensuring effective budget allocations in waste management technology," the Bali constituency politician asserted.


The most common problem facing ASEAN countries in waste management is limited resources, both in terms of financial and technological. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, large quantities of waste originating from the use of disposable face masks and gloves, which were disposed into rivers and the sea, made horrible impacts on the marine ecosystem.


In addition, a Member of the Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, Dyah Roro Esti, shared her observation that while all the energy and effort have been devoted to health and socio-economic issues amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, environmental problems such as waste production, particularly medical waste, has comparatively received less attention.


“COVID-19 will not end until we come up with solutions on how to manage waste, especially medical waste, which has increased significantly and polluted the environment. Medical waste management needs special treatment, but unfortunately not all regions in Indonesia has the proper technology it requires,” he claimed.


Moreover, the member of Commission VII of the Indonesian House also invited all the panelists to think of a solution to ensure the safety of informal workers who make a living out of collecting waste as the increasing amount of medical waste will certainly have negative effects on their health.


AIPA and ERIA will draft a resolution as the outcome of the Joint Dialogue to be submitted to the 41st AIPA General Assembly, set to be virtually held from 8 to 10 September, 2020, in Hanoi, Vietnam. (es)

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