THE INDONESIAN Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy and the Association of Indonesian Tourism Actors (ASPPI), Waste4Change, Bumi Journey, and the Puteri Indonesia Foundation invite the public to implement sustainable tourism.

Data from a survey from the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry in collaboration with nature-loving student communities in 2016 in 8 National Park tourist destinations in Indonesia showed that there were 453 tons of waste generated by 150,688 visitors every year.

As much as 53% is plastic waste that is difficult to decompose. In addition, in 2018, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) recorded the discovery of marine debris in 18 locations throughout Indonesia, amounting to 0.27 – 0.59 million tons per year.

The survey and data above describe waste problems that need to be handled together to maintain the sustainability of tourist destinations. Considering that tourism is a priority sector driving national economic progress that is ready to rise after the COVID-19 pandemic. The revival of the post-pandemic tourism sector is expected to be the right moment to encourage the application of the concept of sustainable tourism or sustainable tourism.

This concept was appointed as a solution to harmonize economic, socio-cultural, and environmental sustainability aspects in tourist destinations, including aspects of responsible waste management.

Commenting on the condition of tourist areas in Indonesia during the pandemic, the Coordinator of Sustainable Tourism Development at the Ministry of Tourism, M. Tidar Hetsaputra, said in a webinar, Thursday (1/20), that it doesn’t matter if there is COVID or not, trash will still come. For example, before COVID, Kuta Bali was one of those with high tourism. During COVID, so drop. But the trash is still there. In February alone there can be tons of garbage on the beach. And it is not brought by tourists, but the westerly wind cycle.

The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism has promulgated Law no. 10 of 2009 to maintain the sustainability and cleanliness of tourist areas in Indonesia. Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Regulation No. 9 of 2021 which regulates the Guidelines for Sustainable Tourism Development is also the basis for the implementation of other Kemenparekraf programs, one of which is the initiation of Plastic Waste Management at Marine Tourism Destinations 2021.

“Usually in tourist destinations, there must be good road access, good and smooth internet, more complete public facilities. Indonesian people are very welcome and very easy to adapt the tourism industry when they feel good direct and indirect impacts,” explained Agus Pahlevi, M. Par., General Chairperson of the Association of Indonesian Tourism Players (APPSI).

That is why tourism development must also be accompanied by positive impacts that can be felt by the local community, either directly or indirectly.

Agus Pahlevi also discussed tourist satisfaction which can be achieved from 3 things, namely good accessibility, good amenities, and good attractions. All of these things must be supported by responsible waste management.

From the perspective of a public figure who has concern for environmental problems and runs various educational programs to increase public awareness of the importance of environmental conservation efforts.

“From what I can observe and read, the concept of tourism is leisure, right. So maybe they spend more, and use more food wrappers which are then thrown away at will. The more crowded that place is, the more piles of garbage there, ” said Puteri Indonesia Environment 2020, Putu Ayu Saraswati.

It is clear that the popularity of tourist areas is directly proportional to the production of waste. This amount of waste creates another long-term impact that must be watched out for, namely carbon emissions.

“The tourism industry contributes 8% to global emissions. The largest portion is transportation (in tourist areas) as much as 49%. After that, waste is generated from goods, food & beverage, and agriculture (in tourist areas),” said Founder of Bumi Journey, Jessica Nova.

Jessica reminded that the high carbon emissions caused by the tourism industry will not only have an impact on global warming, but can also destroy the tourism industry itself.

“For example, the phenomenon of coral bleaching caused by the temperature and acidity of sea water which rises. When the corals die, the tourism potential will decrease and the number of tourists will also decrease,” she noted.

As a provider of waste management solutions, Waste4Change is committed to continuing to encourage the implementation of sustainable tourism in Indonesia through waste management in tourist destinations.

“Currently Waste4Change is conducting community development assistance with one of the tourist villages in Yogyakarta, Importantsari Village. We strive to support and involve local communities in creating a responsible waste management system in their area,” said Tantin Yasmine, Senior Campaign Executive Waste4Change.

Waste4Change is also collaborating with Ecoranger from the Greeneration Foundation Indonesia to ensure that the sea in the Red Island Beach area of Banyuwangi is clean of garbage. Another similar collaboration has been carried out to build waste management infrastructure in Gili Trawangan, East Lombok.

Handling the issue of waste in tourist destinations is a shared responsibility. The collaboration of the government, tourism playerrs, waste managers, tourists, and local communities needs to be encouraged to control the post-pandemic recovery of the tourism industry so that it remains clean of waste and minimizes global emissions. [antaranews/photo special]