US invests in Indonesian waste management to improve public health and environmental sustainability

US invests in Indonesian waste management to improve public health and environmental sustainability

Ervan Maksum, Deputy Director of Infrastructure at Bappenas; Mohib Ahmed, Acting Mission Director of USAID Indonesia; and Restuardy Daud, Director General of Regional Development at the Ministry of Interior at the launch of USAID SELARAS. (Photo by USAID Indonesia)

Today, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Indonesia announced the launch of the Sustainable Municipal Solid Waste Management and Partnership (USAID SELARAS). Both Indonesia and the United States have a vested interest in addressing waste management, which poses significant health and environmental risks, including plastic pollution in oceans and other waterways. Improving solid waste management and increasing recycling rates will improve citizens’ quality of life, reduce environmental damage, and contribute to a sustainable future.

USAID SELARAS is a five-year, up to $24.7 million program designed to reduce land-based sources of ocean plastic pollution and methane (a potent greenhouse gas) by promoting sustainable and integrated solid waste management. The new program will work in 18 cities and districts in the provinces of North Sumatra, Banten, Central Java, East Java, East Kalimantan, Bali and South Sulawesi.

During today’s launch event, mayors and governors from 18 cities and districts signed a commitment to work together to address waste management challenges in Indonesia. The signing was attended by representatives from the Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas) and the Ministry of Home Affairs, as well as representatives from other line ministries. The declaration obliges cities and districts to prioritize waste management programs and budgets in support of various improvement goals.

“Reforming waste management through an integrated upstream-downstream system is not only critical for the environment, but also for the well-being of our communities,” said Mohib Ahmed, Acting Mission Director of USAID Indonesia. “Through this new program, USAID will work with key institutions and stakeholders to strengthen governance, expand services, improve markets for plastic waste, enhance community practices, and reduce methane emissions to achieve a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable Indonesia.”

“Solid waste sector reform falls under the development agenda for social, cultural and environmental security in the National Long-Term Development Plan 2025-2045, to also address the importance of upstream solid waste management, not just downstream,” Bappenas Deputy Infrastructure Ervan Maksum said in his remarks. “Positive social engineering to promote the behavior and habits of waste separation and waste reduction will help Indonesia move towards a circular economy for environmental sustainability.”

“We call on all local governments, local parliaments, local planning agencies and technical offices to work together to lay a good foundation for improved waste management in the new local Long Term and Medium Term Development Plan,” said Director General of Regional Development at the Ministry of Interior, Restuardy Daud. “The Ministry of Interior will continue to work with other technical ministries to provide strategic capacity building efforts for local decision makers in cities and districts.”

Following the launch ceremony, a dialogue session titled “Commitment to Action Towards Integrated Upstream-Downstream Solid Waste Management Reformation in Indonesia” was held with insights from Ikhwan Hakim, Director of Housing and Settlement Areas at Bappenas; Ferdi Mochtar, Head of the Environmental Agency of Makassar City; Christine Halim, Chair of the Indonesian Plastic Recycling Association (ADUPI); and Christiana Yuni, Governance and Finance Lead of USAID SELARAS. The session, moderated by Alwis Rustam, Executive Director of the Association of the Indonesia Municipalities (APEKSI), highlighted strategies, best practices, challenges and a way forward in waste management.