Townhall Muda Series

Eps.13 Townhall Muda: Collaborative Integrated Waste Management Turns Trash into Rupiah

Townhall Muda Medan united officials, activists, and citizens, forming the Medan Eco Rangers Task Force with a shared commitment to make the city a model for sustainable waste management in Indonesia.
In the bustling city of Medan, where daily life thrives, a significant environmental challenge looms large – the staggering amount of trash generated each day. According to reliable sources, Medan produces a substantial 1,500 to 2,000 tons of waste daily, encompassing household, industrial, and commercial sources. This alarming issue prompted a timely and crucial discussion at the Townhall Muda event held on October 27, 2023.

A closer look at the waste composition in Medan reveals that nearly half, approximately 48%, is organic waste such as food scraps and yard waste. The remaining 52% consists of inorganic waste, including plastic, paper, and metal. These statistics underscore the pressing need for effective waste management strategies in the city.

The Townhall Muda’s event served as a catalyst for change, bringing together over 50 participants, including Young Civil Servants, students, environmental activists, and concerned citizens. Held under the theme "Collaborative Integrated Waste Management Turns Trash into Rupiah," the event sought to address critical issues surrounding waste management and explore the economic potential within the city.

Dr. Suryadi Panjaitan M.Kes, Sp.PD, representing the Mayor of Medan, inaugurated the event with an overview of the government's commitment to environmental cleanliness. Dr. Suryadi highlighted Medan's recent achievements in obtaining Climate Village and Adipura certificates, expressing optimism about reclaiming the Adipura certificate after an 11-year hiatus. He stated, “This year, Medan has achieved Climate Village and Adiputra certificates. The government encourages initiatives to make the environment cleaner. We are delighted when Townhall Muda organizes a discussion forum in Medan that connects youth and decision makers to participate in joint efforts to clean the environment from waste. In the future, we hope the Adiputra certificate can be obtained by Medan, thus reclaiming after 11 years of absence.”
Concrete steps taken by the local government were presented during the event, including the transformation of the Terjun landfill into a park with a sanitary landfill concept. This innovative approach demonstrates Medan's commitment to sustainable waste management and the transformation of traditionally problematic areas into community-friendly spaces.

Representatives from various organizations shared their perspectives on waste management initiatives. Johny Chandrina, representing the Buddha Tzu Chi Indonesia Foundation, highlighted their daily efforts in processing household-scale waste for social activities, aligning with Master Cheng Yen's life philosophy. Dr. Iwan Risna Sari, S.Hut. M.Si, discussed cutting-edge research on transforming leaf litter waste into natural dyes for eco-friendly textiles, emphasizing the importance of avoiding plastic components in clothing fibers.

The event's discussion session was marked by active participation, with questions and responses flowing freely. The culmination of the Townhall Muda event in Medan resulted in a collective agreement to establish the Medan Eco Rangers Task Force. This milestone initiative is poised to make Medan a shining example of sustainable waste management practices in Indonesia.

This event proved to be a pivotal moment in the city's journey towards sustainable waste management. With a collaborative spirit, the government, organizations, and passionate individuals are poised to turn the tide on the waste crisis, creating a cleaner, greener future for Medan and setting an inspiring example for other communities in Indonesia.
This article was written by Gabriella Anindyacitta S. B.
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