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Waste management on Kri Island

Raja Ampat Soul scuba divers
Kri Island Raja Ampat @Yann Kohl

Raja Ampat has often been “marketed as “the last paradise” and it is true – for a long time now, the remoteness and inaccessibility of the region has kept the environment relatively untouched and pristine. But that is changing. Over the next few years, we expect to see a significant increase in visitors to the region as more flight connections are established and the affordability of trips becomes much cheaper.

With more humans, comes more waste. Currently, Raja Ampat is not ready or set up for this level of tourism yet – there is little to no waste management happening on a local level. On Kri Island, Soul Initiatives hopes to change this.

Our waste management station

Recycling station at Kri Island Raja Ampat
Sorted waste at Kri Island

We now have a waste management station set up in Kri island, where we’ve begun the process of sorting through the trash. Bags come in, gloves go on and we separate everything out into various different stations. There’s metals, soft plastics, hard plastics, water bottles, polystyrene, sandals, scuba gear, fishing gear, glass, cans, lightbulbs – you name it, we’ve got it. Seeing all of this trash in one place is a great visual representation of human’s impact on this one small island. 

Eventually, we hope we won’t need to carry out this sorting process. The idea, already implemented in our dive center, is to have different waste bins for various materials at every dive shop and homestay on Kri Island. The waste can arrive already sorted, and then the exciting next step begins!

Recycling station - Turning Plastic Waste into Functional Assets!

Exciting news from Soul Scuba Foundation! Thanks to our partnership with Wedoo, an Indonesian company dedicated to environmental innovation, we've invested in cutting-edge machinery to tackle plastic waste.

Our state-of-the-art equipment breaks down, melts, and molds plastic into durable tables, chairs, and essential building materials.

By transforming waste into functional assets, we're not only cleaning up the environment but also creating sustainable solutions for our community.

Machines are already purchased by Soul Scuba divers, and the machines are already in the Kri island and our bigger machines in the future location in Sorong. We have smaller machines in Kri island for our awareness center where we show solutions how to reduce plastic in the first place. We still need a help to make our dreams come true towards Cleaner Raja Ampat.

Join us in celebrating this milestone in our mission for a cleaner, greener future! Together, we can turn the tide on plastic pollution and build a more sustainable world. We have our GOFunMe page where you can make donations towards to our waste management project.

How do we get others involved?

This is an idea that requires everyone on Kri Island to participate, so how do we achieve this?

It begins with educating the kids, who are the future custodians of this land. We need to break previous bad habits that are handed down through generations – the idea that all our waste can simply be burned away or thrown in the sea.

Through incentives such as movie tickets for film nights at our dive centers or arts and crafts sessions, we’re able to get these kids on board and interested in the waste management process. Additionally, we’re working with homestays one by one to implement their own waste management collection bins. It won’t happen overnight, but the most important thing is to start!

Of course, we’re under no illusions that this can solve all of the waste management problems Raja Ampat currently faces. We are one project on one island, and we hope to set an example. Over time, we’d like to educate and raise awareness about this huge issue, in the hope that we can lobby local officials and government to do a lot more to tackle the problem. If we’re serious about creating a sustainable Raja Ampat that doesn’t collapse under the weight of tourism and all the waste that comes with it, we need regulation and management from the top down, too.

How can tourists help?

Raja Ampat waste problem
Choose homestay's which recycles

If you’re a tourist reading this and wanting to help, the good news is you can! Our best advice would be to pick and promote homestays on Kri Island that actively recycle and sort their waste. Money talks and word quickly gets around. If a homestay wants to remain popular, it’ll quickly adapt to tourist’s wants and needs. Likewise, whenever and wherever possible, please outright refuse single-use plastics. Bring your own aluminum bottle and refill your water, use reef-safe sunscreen, natural soap, and shampoos(you buy natural beauty products at Soul Scuba Divers). Your decisions and preferences make a huge difference.

If you’re interested in joining one of our beach cleanups or helping out at the waste management station, feel free to come and have a chat with us at the Soul Scuba Dive Centre!

Writer Josh Edwards

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