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Closing the Loop


Surabaya, Indonesia

Population: 3.15 Million (2018)
Population Density: 40,207/km2 (2020)





Surabaya is the second-largest city in Indonesia, the provincial capital of East Java and a regional centre for trade and development. The City is situated in the expansive Brantas River Basin, which drains over 11,800km2. The Kali Mas River branches from the Brantas flows through Surabaya and is discharged into Madura Strait. Flooding, climate change and tacking water pollution remain critical environmental challenges for Surabaya.

​Plastic Pollution in The City


Surabaya has been working on better plastic waste management by involving formal and informal players in its solid waste management system. The challenge of plastic waste management in Surabaya has accelerated with the increasing population and consumption and production practices. Unmanaged plastic waste can eventually end up in landfills, burnt or leaked into the waterways and ocean.

The application of a Plastic Pollution Calculator (PPC) developed by the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) and The University of Leeds (UOL) has provided science-based evidence to understand the pathways of plastic waste and leakage potentials within the city. This study found that:

  • 792,290 tonnes of waste are produced in Surabaya each year, that’s 0.7 kg per resident per day of waste.
  • 14% or 111,300 tonnes of the City’s total waste is plastic.
  • 2% of their plastic waste enters the waterway and is equivalent to many millions of plastic items
  • 55% of plastic emissions are from uncollected waste in the city
  • Plastic bags make up 27% of Surabaya’s plastic pollution
​City Priorities


  • Build effective monitoring tools within the Surabaya Smart City System. This technology will track land and aquatic plastic hotspots and help the city find the source of their problems
  • Double plastic waste recycling from 11.3% to 23% by 2025. This will include doubling their city recycling facilities to 18 locations
  • By 2040, they will increase recycling by another 46% and double their recycling facilities again to 36 locations
  • Interventions at local markets and schools to educate on reduction of single-use plastic products


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