© In partnership with the Governor of East Java and the country’s largest women’s charity, we are working to clean up the Brantas – one of the most polluted rivers in the world.

Clean Blue East Java

Clean Blue East Java will support this Indonesian province to radically reduce its plastic pollution, with a focus on stopping the flow of diaper waste into the Brantas River.

This project is part of Clean Blue Alliance, which helps communities to accelerate solutions that stop plastic entering waterways, seas and oceans. Clean Blue East Java brings together a ground-breaking partnership between the Governor of East Java, PC Muslimat and Universitas Airlangga.

Why East Java?

East Java is a province of Indonesia. It’s home to almost 40 million people and its rugged landscape of volcanoes and waterfalls attracts thousands of tourists. The Brantas River is the second-longest river in the region and follows a semi-circular route through most of the province.

Diapers are the Brantas River's most prolific plastic waste item and pollutant by weight (after bottles). It is estimated that 1.5 million diapers are thrown into the Brantas every day.

The Process

How does East Java stem the flow of plastic into the Brantas River?

Clean Blue Alliance initiatives are designed around three principle elements:


Identify waste streams and leakage

We are initiating a Clean Blue Research Council to bring together leading academics and experts in social science, marine science, waste management, engineering and communications from East Java and Europe. Together, we will use an evidence-based approach to collect baseline data about waste streams and leakage, measure impact and amplify the successes of Clean Blue East Java.

We know the Brantas is one of the world’s most polluted rivers, but we must know more to effectively tackle the problem. To get the insight we need, we will place river booms at ‘hot stops’ along the Brantas to monitor the volume and composition of plastic pollution. We also plan to create a River Clean Up App, which citizens will be able to use to upload real-time findings. This app will give us invaluable data about the impact of our upstream interventions. It will also connect individuals and communities directly to the pollution problem, and therefore empower them to support a change.

This groundwork is essential for the project's success, but it will also help us devise scalable solutions. As well as radically reducing the pollution in the Brantas, our goal – as ever - is to deliver a replicable model for river cleanups around the world.

Incubate and accelerate solutions

There are two parts to the Intervention phase of Clean Blue East Java:

  • To radically reduce the use of disposable diapers
  • To optimise the management of diaper waste that remains

We will radically reduce disposable diaper use by promoting and facilitating the use of reusable diapers. To pilot this solution, we’re providing 500 children with reusable diaper packs and creating a network of support to scale wider uptake.

As part of this project, we will work closely with PC Muslimat NU Cabang Surabaya to support small enterprises that produce the cloth inserts for reusable diapers. By providing seed finance, business support and access to a primed market, we will create local jobs and empower women.

We will optimise diaper waste management by initially providing separate collection of used diapers to 5,000 households. This pilot will allow for the clean aggregation of diaper waste, which is much easier to recycle effectively. Having conducted global research into closed loop diaper recycling, we have already identified a promising technology. We will share more details on this once we have completed due diligence.

Replicate and scale best practice

We are planning how the successes of our investigation and interventions can scale and replicate rapidly across East Java and beyond. Ultimately, we want to support relevant provinces and communities around the world.

First, our radical reduction and waste management optimisation interventions are designed to be owned, sustained and scaled by local individuals and communities. A big part of this involves celebrating those who get involved, and the positive impact they have. We will be sharing and celebrating the pioneering work of our partners through creative communications, tailor-made for the people of East Java.

We also recognise the need to embed both positive behaviours and the appetite for change in the next generation. To that end, in partnership with PC Muslimat NU Cabang Surabaya, we will build and implement a country-specific plastic waste-free outreach program and education materials to be shared across schools and on social media.

And finally, working with our partners we will shine a light on the successful interventions to influence the country’s National Policy.

CS Nappy Jelly Fish Edited

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