Waste wars: Indonesian government faces uphill battle to rid country of imported refuse

The government of Indonesia faces an uphill battle to rid the country of imported refuse as low-income citizens fail to see the harm of turning trash into cash. Indonesian correspondents Linda Yulisman and Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja report from East and West Java.

A tangled mess of plastic bottles and food wrappers popped and crackled in the fire, sending acrid black smoke through the chimneys of a tofu factory in Indonesia's East Java.

Wearing a thin paper mask over his face, factory worker Alex, who is in his 40s, tossed chunks of wood into the brick furnace to burn along with the plastic scraps.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2019, with the headline 'WASTE WARS'. Print Edition | Subscribe