Let’s get Papua clean!

Bekijk de officiele aftermovie van de SEFA groep 2018 en ontdek meer over hun plastic recycling onderzoek West-Papoea afgelopen zomer.

Dear everyone,

As 2018 has officially come to an end, we would like to send you a message to share some of our achievements in the past year, as well as our gratitude towards you for helping us in our mission.

In the past year, we – Thérèse van Woerkom, Giulia Chiarelli, Thierry Belt, Thierry Wong and Eline van Oostveen – have been working on assignment of the SDSP foundation with one clear goal in mind: finding ways to solve the plastic pollution crisis of West Papua. As you may or may not know, West Papua is one of the last true ‘green lungs’ with vast rainforests and the most biodiverse marine ecosystem in the world. This forgotten piece of paradise is something that we must treasure and preserve.

We started 2018 by raising funds for our research. By organizing events for students, a fancy auction dinner, supermarket promotions and by several generous donations, we raised €16.000 to fund our research and to invest in the recycling project. A new record in the history of our committee!

From May onwards, we focused on desk research in the Netherlands. We read tons of academic literature on the matter of plastic recycling in developing countries, but most of all we learned a lot from the experts in the Netherlands and beyond who took the time to share their expertise with us. Their shared knowledge combined with the literature was captured by us in the form of a research report: Sustainable Plastic Waste Management in Developing Countries (2018). This report also introduces the Three-Step Framework, a tool that we created to help finding the right plastic recycling strategy for a specific developing region.

From July to August, we finally got to travel to West Papua and see for ourselves what impact plastic pollution has on its beautiful ecosystem. In four weeks, we had countless meetings and interviews with government officials, embassies, waste collectors, school boards and transport companies, to see what initiatives would work for West Papua and which would not. Apart from the hard work, we luckily also found the time to explore West Papua’s rain forest, watch the famous Bird of Paradise, snorkel, scuba-dive, try the local cuisine and meet many amazing and welcoming people. Want to know more about our trip? Check out our aftermovie!

In the months that followed, we each worked hard on combining all of our findings into one solid advisory report: A Holistic Solution to Papua’s Plastic Pollution (2018). Making use of our Three-Step Framework tool, we found out that West Papua remains a challenging area for plastic waste management. We do, however, see a lot of promise in a local collaboration with existing plastic waste collectors and have consulted the SDSP foundation to move towards a ‘pelletizing’ business model: collecting, shredding and pelletizing the plastic into small granules which can be shipped and turned into a new product abroad.

While our committee year has now come to an end, we are very grateful for the amazing experiences we have had this year and the many things that we learned about the world of plastic recycling. If you are curious to learn more about our results, please find our two final reports in the attachment. While all of us either started their master’s this year or started working, we are eager to keep in touch with the SDSP foundation and cannot wait to see the first steps towards a clean West Papua. If you would like to learn more about the amazing work that the SDSP foundation does, visit their website sdsp.nl and perhaps even join their cause.

Dear everyone, thank you once again for your contribution and we wish you all the best in 2019.

Yours Sincerely,

Thérèse van Woerkom,
Giulia Chiarelli,
Thierry Belt,
Thierry Wong and jmk
Eline van Oostveen


Voor de derde maal op rij hebben het International Development Project van de studievereniging Study Association for Economis and Business – SEFA (Universiteit van Amsterdam) en de SDSP een samenwerking. Dit jaar ging een team van 5 studenten naar Papoea. Deze groep (bestaande uit Thérèse van Woerkom, Eline van Oostveen, Giulia Chiarelli, Thierry Belt en Thierry Wong) deed onderzoek naar de beste oplossingen voor de plastic problematiek in West Papua.

Lees meer over het SEFA project 2018.

De studenten werden in 2016 voorgegaan door de eerste groep SEFA studenten. Deze groep deed onderzoek naar de haalbaarheid van cacaoplantages in West Papua.

In 2017 was het de beurt aan de tweede groep SEFA studenten. Zij hebben zich verdiept in het vinden van duurzame watermanagement oplossingen in West Papua en leverden het rapport ‘A Ripple Effect on Sustainable Water Management in West Papua’ op.

Over Keep Papua Clean

We willen lesprogramma’s milieueducatie ondersteunen op scholen in de regio West Papua met als doel bewustwording van de gevaren van plastic en afval. In samenwerking met onze counterparts: de lokale stichtingen Papua Maju (Sorong) en afdeling Sobat Bumi (Manokwari) willen we de lesprogramma’s binnen 3 jaar hebben gerealiseerd op alle basisscholen in Manokwari en Sorong. We zijn reeds begonnen met een pilot op 2 scholen in Manokwari.

SDSP werkt langs 3 sporen aan het plastic en afvalprobleem in West Papua: educatie; verwerking van afval en beïnvloeding van overheidsbeleid.

Lees meer over het project Keep Papua Clean

Lees het Keep Papua Clean projectplan (pdf, 2MB, opent in nieuw tabblad)

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