Youth-led Environmental Group Antheia Project Calls to Stop Styrofoam Use

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Youth-led environmental group, Antheia Project, said that styrofoam waste is an environmental problem that is often overlooked. Despite being as widely used as plastic, people are more aware of the hazard of plastic, leading to styrofoam waste accumulating and ending up on beaches.

“Everyone knows about plastic, but people do not have the awareness of the hazard of styrofoam waste,” said Ruhani Alisha Nitiyudo, the co-founder of Antheia Project to Tempo on Wednesday, August 2, 2023.

Founded in 2020, Antheia Project is initiated by the Indonesian youth aiming to raise awareness of waste management and integrate sustainability into lifestyle and business models.

Currently, the group is trying to popularize its campaign #SayNoToStyrofoam on social media, discouraging people from using styrofoam while seeking for alternatives. “The campaign prevents usage of styrofoam instead of just trying to mitigate the impact of styrofoam that accumulates in the environment,” said Ruhani.

Citing the report of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Ruhani said that 59% of waste found in nine rivers in Jakarta, Tangerang, and Bekasi flowing into the Jakarta Bay were plastic waste of various kinds and uses, most of which were styrofoam. “Styrofoam can last up to 500 years without decomposing. If we don’t manage the usage, it can be eaten by marine life, and pollute the environment,” said Ruhani. 

Additionally, Brand Ambassador of Antheia Project Jennifer Collard said that while doing their Beach Clean Up project, the group found styrofoam dominating the waste accumulating on the beaches. “Styrofoam can be broken down into small pieces but we keep finding it (on the beach), it’s never-ending,” she said.

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As part of the effort to campaign waste management and sustainable lifestyle, Antheia Project has conducted 5 series of beach clean up in Kayu Angin Bira Island, Belanda Island, Harapan Island, Muara Baru Settlement, and Waduk Pluit Park. They accumulated over 1,711,203 kilograms of waste in various natures together with more than 500 people consisting of women, children, and residents of North Jakarta. 

Antheia Project emphasized the role of everyone in sustaining the environment and halting the usage of styrofoam, including large companies. “Large companies can afford to stop using styrofoam, and yet they haven’t,” said Jennifer. 

Furthermore, Jennifer also emphasized the role of policymakers in creating a waste management system to reduce waste pollution in the environment, including styrofoam pollution. In 2018, President Jokwi signed Presidential Regulation No. 83 of 2018 on marine pollution which aims to tackle the 70% of plastic waste that enters the sea by 2025. “But we need to take action now, we can’t afford to wait on combating the pollution,” Jennifer concluded.

NAJLA NUR FAUZIYAH

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