Lack of adequate and safe waste management and deforestation are two critical environmental challenges facing Indonesia. The next generation of Indonesian leaders is making significant strides in addressing theses issues in their schools and communities.

Rice fields in rural Indonesia

The Indonesian government-run waste management services collect only 30 to 40 percent of the country’s solid waste, mostly in higher income areas. This has led to pervasive environmental problems and health risks, especially in poor urban communities and those living adjacent to open waste dumps.  In addition, many communities burn their trash, leading to increased air pollution as toxic chemicals are released into the air. The next generation of Indonesian leaders is working to address these and other issues in their communities with community action projects, designed and implemented under the guidance of Legacy International.

One group of students in West Java started a project to educate and motivate students to clean up their school and start a recycling program for cans, paper, bottles, and plastic. The group also created a “Recycling Club,” to recruit volunteers to participate in a community trash clean up. Through their own fundraising efforts they also created and implement a recycling program at their school.

Another critical issue in Indonesia is the considerable damage done to the environment by illegal logging operations. For many years logging companies went through the Islands of Indonesia removing every tree. The forests, which play a vital part in creating the microclimate and maintaining rainfall, keep the ground moist and the rivers flowing.  With the removal of the forests the land in many places has becomes dry and hot.

Students at an Indonesian girls school in Bima, Indonesia

Young leaders from Bima designed a project called:  “Green Is Possible, Plant A Tree With Us” to address this problem on their Island.  Bima is a dry town surrounded by mountains that have no trees.  It has a lot of water and air pollution problems. This project is intended to help Bima become more green by planting trees to generate cleaner air and more oxygen.The group requested 1,000 trees from the Department of Forestry and invited volunteers from their school and other nearby schools to help plant the trees in Bima.  To ensure sustainability, the group continues to organize the regular watering of the trees.