JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The large amount of plastic items that are thrown away have become a serious problem in many countries and Indonesia has not been an exception.
Indonesians throw away tons of plastic bottles, shopping bags and food wrappers every day. Few get recycled.
The danger to the environment that plastic waste poses is obvious and people are now making an effort to reduce the use of plastic containers.
"We can find plastic everywhere. But you cannot dispose of plastic waste safely," said Lidwina Marcella, a 23-year-old activist from the Indonesian Green Youth Coalition (KOPHI).
To reduce the use of plastic containers, Lidwina and her colleagues have initiated the "One Man, One Tumbler" campaign, which is planned to be officially launched in May. They have planned on visiting various coffee shops and cafes to promote the programme.
"Plastic waste take years to degrade. Even if we do the recycling, the amount of plastic waste being recycled is far lower than the amount of plastic waste we produce every day. Thus, it's better for us to reduce, rather than recycle, plastic waste," Lidwina told The Jakarta Post.
She added that a popular coffee shop had already agreed to offer special prices for customers who have brought their own tumblers with them. "We want to show the public that we can change the world through small things that we can do," she said.
Lidwina is among a large group of activists who has agreed to take part in the Indonesian Young Changemakers Summit (IYCS), which has planned to hold its first conference titled "Sumpah Pemuda 1/8Youth Pledge 3/8 2.0" in Bandung from Feb. 11 to Feb. 13. Around 200 young campaigners were to attend the conference, which aimed to unify the spirit of young people in developing, collaborating and carrying out important work for Indonesia.
IYCS chairman Goris Mustaqim said that more than a decade since the 1998 reform movement, significant improvement has only been seen in a few sectors. Indonesians still witness problems such as social conflicts, poor governance and corruptions.
"There has been potential for development but it has not been well empowered. We've seen many young people emerge as initiators for changes. But they mostly work individually," said Goris, a young IT entrepreneur from Bandung.
Founded in December 2011, the IYCS aims to provide an umbrella for collaborative work and cross-sector cooperation among youth organizations to respond more effectively to challenges that are getting more complex.
"Under the platform of Sumpah Pemuda 2.0, youths should be able to not only unify and do work but also collaborate with each other so they can provide solutions that are much more larger, systemic and creative," Goris said.
With that platform, he added, young people could hopefully voice their hopes, share optimism with each other and form common goals that might have a positive impact on the country.
Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for the micro-financing provided by his Grameen Bank, is set to speak via video-link at the IYCS opening ceremony, to be held at Gedung Merdeka in Bandung.
State Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan and other decision-makers, such as Surakarta Mayor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Change Management Consultant founder Pahala N. Mansury and Lendo Novo, the founder of Sekolah Rakyat, will also discuss their inspiring work with the conference participants.
IYCS founder Anies Baswedan, who is also the Rector of Paramadina University, will also be one of speakers at the conference. The other founders of the IYCS are young entrepreneur Sandiaga Uno, Ridwan Kamil from Indonesia Berkebun, Tri Mumpuni from the People-Centered Economic and Business Institute (IBEKA) and Silverius Oscar Unggul from the Telapak Foundation.
IYCS staff member Monica Utari Mariana said that participants can join in a wide variety of programmes such as networking, talkshows and workshops during the three-day event. Panel discussions over social movements, young entrepreneurship and volunteering have also been organized.
The conference will culminate with the "100 Mimpi Indonesia Bangkit" (The Rise of 100 Indonesian Dreams) and the release of the Sumpah Pemuda 2.0 Manifesto.
"The second phase of Sumpah Pemuda will hopefully inspire other youth to get moving and do some work. The voice of youth should be able to defeat pessimism and a sense of despair that currently overwhelms this country," she said.
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