Indonesian museum made of plastic bottles, bags sheds light on maritime crisis


written by ReutersGrecic, Indonesia

Environmentalists in Indonesia have built a museum made entirely out of plastic to persuade those wanting to send a message about the world’s worsening marine plastic crisis to rethink their habits and say no to single-use bags and bottles .

The outdoor exhibition in Gresik City, East Java, took three months to assemble and is made up of more than 10,000 plastic waste, from bottles and bags to pouches and straws, all collected from polluted rivers and beaches.

The centerpiece is a statue called “Goddess Sri”, the goddess of prosperity widely worshiped by Javanese. Her long skirt is made from single-use pouches from household items.

People pass through a tunnel made of plastic bottles collected from several rivers around the city. Credit: Presto Vardoyo/Reuters

“We want to send information to people to stop the use of single-use plastics,” said museum founder Prigi Arisandi.

“It is very difficult to recycle these plastics… from today we should stop consuming single use plastic as it will pollute our ocean, which is also the source of our food.”

The plastic problem is particularly acute in Indonesia, an archipelago nation second only to China for the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean.

Ecoton workers help prepare "3f" (Fish ferrous plastics), a plastic waste museum in Greece, Java, Indonesia, on September 15, 2021.

Workers help build a plastic waste museum in Java. Credit: Robertus Pudianto / Getty Images

Along with the Philippines and Vietnam, four countries account for more than half of marine plastics and Indonesian efforts to regulate the use of plastic packaging have had mixed results.

More than 400 visitors have come since the exhibition opened earlier last month.

One student, Ahmed Zainuri, said it had opened his eyes to the scale of the problem.

“I’ll take a bag and when I buy a drink, I’ll use a glass,” he said.

ECOTON workers wash plastic waste before installing "3f" (Fish ferrous plastics), a plastic waste museum in Greece, Java, Indonesia, on September 15, 2021.

Workers working with the museum help wash up plastic waste for the exhibit. Credit: Robertus Pudianto / Getty Images

The museum has become a popular spot for selfies shared widely on social media, where visitors pose against a backdrop of thousands of suspended water bottles.

“I have to buy reusable things like drinking bottles instead of buying plastic bottles,” said student Ayu Chandra Woolan. “It hurts me to see how much garbage there is.”

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