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FEATURE STORY June 2, 2020

Meet our Innovator Protecting our Oceans in Indonesia: Tiza Mafira


Tiza Mafira’s legal background combined with her love for the ocean and environment, has catapulted her into the non-profit world where she is now the Executive Director of Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik (GIDKP). Tiza promotes a Reusable Revolution as one of many ways to help address ocean pollution.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia and have lived here for more than 30 years. I did both my undergraduate and graduate studies in law and worked as a corporate lawyer for six years before moving to the non-profit sector to focus on environmental policy. 


What comes to your mind when you think of the ocean? 

I love diving, playing on the beach, traveling by boat, and I love eating seafood.  For the past few years though, I've done more beach clean ups than beach holidays. The ocean isn't as pretty as it used to be when I was younger. 


What does this year’s World Oceans Day theme, “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean” mean to you?

A Reusable Revolution - using local wisdom that is revived for a modern world is the innovation we need to stop the continuous leakage of waste into the ocean. For centuries we had a system of reusable, refillable containers for everything and it was a system that worked well. Ready-to-eat meals were packed in banana leaves, vegetables were wrapped up in newspaper and everyone used woven baskets to shop. These simple, familiar, and effective solutions are making a comeback and are even being adapted to suit online purchases and delivery models. 


Tell us about your work with the Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement? 

The Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement otherwise known as the Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik (GIDKP), focuses on policy change to reduce single-use plastics at the source.  Our work is done through government engagement, public awareness and strategic retail collaborations. We were the first organization in Indonesia to successfully push for a nationwide trial of a charge for plastic carrier bags and the first to provide technical assistance to more than 20 city-governments to ban single use plastics. Our latest innovative project is in partnership with the City of Jakarta to pilot the first plastic-free traditional market in Jakarta. 


What is it that drives you to do this work?

I'm passionate about breathing clean air, drinking clean water and eating uncontaminated food. To me that should be sufficient motivation for anyone to become an environmentalist. 

"A Reusable Revolution - using local wisdom that is revived for a modern world is the innovation we need to stop the continuous leakage of waste into the ocean."
Tiza Mafira
Executive Director, Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong (GIDKP)


Tiza Mafira and the Plastic Monster icon paraded at Jakarta's Plastic Free March in 2019 


If you had a magic wand and could change or fix one issue or challenge facing our oceans, what would it be?

I would make everyone suddenly understand what it truly means to be wealthy and happy without having to constantly buy things we don't really need and will only end up using for just 30 minutes of pleasure but resulting in 300 years of pollution. Maybe then, more people will wake up and realize the reality of our situation and take action now to save our oceans.


What message would you like everyone to hear on World Oceans Day 2020?

I'd like to hear big fast-moving consumer goods companies committing to radically redesigning all their packaging to more sustainable and environmentally friendly options. I'd like to hear them commit to phasing out multi-material, multi-layer plastics, shifting massively to single-material, single-layer packaging with their own recycled content, or shift to refill delivery models. Civil society has paved the way for this by pushing for single use plastic bans that are proliferating all over the world. Now it's time for companies to do their part as well.

**The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank Group and its employees.