Rubbish Road (Pt. 2) – The Locations


Indonesia consists of ca 17,000 islands, it is the largest archipelagic state in the world with 1.9M square kilometres surface area. It is home to 260 M people and Number 2 ocean polluter worldwide.

This means to us, the problem is right here: High population density, weak economic regions (especially in remote areas), huge challenges in terms of infrastructure (long distances and islands). All this makes the waste management particularly challenging for Indonesia.

The government acknowledged the issue. Last year, the Minister for Maritime Affairs pledged that the country will invest 1 Bn USD into initiatives and organisations to addressing the waste problem.

Just recently, during the rainy season, famous Kuta beach in Bali was subject to an emergency closure because the authorities and local service suppliers couldn’t handle the amount of rubbish on the beach. The morning sweep of an armada of workers and bulldozers wasn’t enough anymore.


Where does the waste come from?

Both academic and news literature suggest most of the debris on the beach originates from land; a solid estimate is 80%.

(Read more here

(Source: Eunomia)

The land leakage is mostly facilitated through rivers, and as we know almost every river flows into the ocean. (Side note: There are a few exceptions in the world, such as the Colorado River or the Okavango. Read here some interesting facts about Rivers.)

With the frequent rainfall from November to March, tremendous amounts of plastic waste end up on the pristine beaches of Indonesia’s islands and eventually in the oceans.

There are a few noteworthy projects that aim to capture waste leakage in rivers, such as in the Netherlands, Thomsea Technology in Mumbai,  Mr Trash Wheel in Baltimore.


Rubbish Road is a study to explore the waste streams in Indonesia on land initiated by Five Oceans as part as the ecoFin project. Inspired by the question “Where does your waste go?” We are committed to revealing first ever insights into the unknown and informal pathways of plastic waste across different islands. Read more about Rubbish Road


Locations to study

We selected the locations for our study randomly and due to accessibility. Simply put, where ever we go (to chase waves), we also go to explore the waste infrastructure. We take the freedom to follow an explorative approach since this research endeavour primarily attempts to give first insights and recommendations for larger scale more quantitative studies.

Below are the first selected locations.



Population: 3.1M

Surface area: 4.725 sqkm

Number of waste facilities: 8

Number of recycling facilities: 2 (potentially privately-run junkyards or resource recovery centres)

Selected location for tracking: Kuta Lombok Pengengat Waste Facility



Population: 50.3 M

Surface area: 473,481 sq km

Number of waste facilities: 7

Number of recycling facilities: 1 in Medan (+9 privately run recycling services)

Selected Facility for tracking: Padang Waste Facility



Population: 1.39 M

Surface area: 15,412 sq km

Number of waste facilities: 2 (one double listing)

Number of recycling facilities: 0

Selected Facility for tracking: Lakey Peak (Huu Dompu Regency, West Nusa Tenggara)



Population: 611,000

Surface area: 11,153 sq km

Number of waste facilities: 1

Number of recycling facilities: 0

Selected Facility for tracking: Near Madala, South West Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara



More to come…



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