The Coral Triangle in South East Asia is home to one of the most biodiverse marine environments on our planet but plastic pollution is rapidly degrading this delicate ecosystem. To prevent the Coral Triangle from being suffocated by plastic, the No-Trash Triangle Initiative was founded on Bangka Island, North Sulawesi, in late 2017 by marine scientists from Indonesia, Italy and Germany.

No-Trash Triangle Initiative takes a four pillar approach to tackle the plastic problem from all angles.

  1. Implementing a waste collection and management model

  2. Raising awareness in the local community

  3. Supporting research and innovation

  4. Encouraging corporate responsibility

Our ultimate goal is to create an adaptable and sustainable model on Bangka Island that can be rolled out to other small Indonesian islands and coastlines and perhaps even exported to regions further afield with similar geographic properties. Cooperation with other communities is vital if we want to tackle the plastic waste problem and help preserve our coral reefs, mangroves and all ocean life.

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How it all started

In early 2017, Coral Eye resort decided to implement a waste management project in response to the plastic pollution they were seeing on Bangka’s beaches. At the time, scientists were on site working on a research project supported by Sam Ratulangi University (UNSRAT) in Manado. This project was investigating the biodegradation of plastics in a tropical marine environment. Coral Eye was encouraged to set up a wider plastic pollution initiative collaborating with the other resorts on Bangka island. This initiative would combine waste management with further scientific research supported by UNSRAT, to understand the extent of the problem, as well as education and corporate responsibility.

“We started to realise the devastating extent of plastic pollution when observing how near-pristine tropical beaches were covered with floating trash by every tide and we decided to act”.

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Around 70% of the waste that washes up on Bangka Island’s shores is recyclable and has an economic value. The market value of the collected plastic is too low to cover the costs of transporting it to the mainland. However, with financial support from the resorts on the island together with public donations, we have already transported over five tons of waste to Sulawesi mainland for recycling. The Initiative continues to grow, partnering with Indonesian NGO, Seasoldier, in early 2019 to develop a local education program and supporting further research through our scholarship program in conjunction with Coral Eye. 

90% of ocean plastic comes from just ten rivers, eight of which are found in Asia, five of which feed directly into the Coral Triangle. We are focusing our attention on creating tangible change where it really matters.

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