Medang4change is a community in Indonesia who are inspiring environmental transformation, one island at a time. Their biggest project? Creating a circular economy by turning plastic into fuel. And they could use a little help.
Pulau Medang is a small island in the Flores Sea, a place less travelled and possibly one you’ve never heard of. Medang is just 10km long and 1.5km wide, and is home to around 3,000 people. So why should anyone pay attention to what is happening there? Because Medang is onto something big—islanders are collecting plastic and turning it into fuel.
“The human race will regret it if we don’t act on plastic now.” – Sir David Attenborough.
There are very few ways to dispose of plastic on Medang, so Medang4change bought a pyrolysis machine, which turns waste into fuel (kerosene, petroleum, and diesel). And it ’s something that is hugely needed on a remote island, and Medang is by every definition remote.Pulau Medang is a 30-minute speed boat ride away from Sumbawa Besar. But if you want to do it the traditional way, you might sit for three hours on a fishing boat, chugging along and enjoying life on the seas. If the waters are calm, it is an enjoyable journey in which you might even see a dolphin or two. You know, simply relaxing in the warm sun while inhaling the smell of diesel…Yep, sorry to shatter that illusion. While it’s definitely beautiful there, think for a minute about the fumes that these old boat engines spew into the atmosphere—not just in Indonesia but on islands all over the world.This is one of the issues that come with living on a remote island—how to get there. Locals and tourists alike rely on diesel for fuel and to add to this already colossal pollutant; there’s also plastic. More and more plastic pollution is being washed up on the beaches in the area, made worse by the plastic used by villagers themselves.
Medang4change looks to be a catalyst in changing this. Medang4change is a passionate group of individuals living on Medang, along with one determined English woman who also lives in Indonesia. Together they are on a mission to transform the island into something that’s idyllic beyond beauty by cleaning it up, building an eco-village, and educating and training locals. By doing this, they are also trying to inspire change at the next place, too — one island at a time is the way they see it.The solution? Pyrolysis.
Pyrolysis is a process that uses lower temperatures to melt plastic, turn it into a gas, and then cool the gas down again, returning the plastic to where it started – oil. And through this innovative pyrolysis machine, which is made in Indonesia by an Indonesian professor, the rubbish they collect in Medang is converted into the fuel they need. Most importantly, the fuel is used by the boats that are spewing fumes into the air. It may not be the best solution to the problem, but it is a solution that will clean up the island, provide a new source of revenue, and create a circular economy. They way they see it, people bring plastic to them, and they get a reduced rate for fuel. No plastic = no fuel.
To Change The Earth - One Island at a Time