CSERM UNAS collaborated with Selayar Bebas Sampah Plastik (SBSP – Plastic-waste Free Selayar) in the Ecobrick Festival, from 26 October to 5 November 2023. The theme of Ecobrick Festival this year is ‘Protect Your Ocean, Make Your Ecobrick’. This year’s Ecobrick Festival carried the theme of the importance of protecting the ocean from plastic waste, and one of the efforts is making ecobrick to prevent plastic waste from ending up in the ocean. CSERM UNAS participated in this activity as an institution that actively conducts research and development as well as community service, in line with the efforts to develop sustainable sea cucumber aquaculture in Selayar.
In the Ecobrick Festival, CSERM UNAS introduced the ongoing sea cucumber cultivation activities in Selayar, as well as the importance and high correlation between a plastic waste-free environment and sea cucumber cultivation. CSERM UNAS and SBSP held a sharing session with the participants, mostly high school students, regarding the importance of protecting the ocean from plastic debris and efforts to reduce the impact of plastic waste. Dr Sugardjito, CSERM UNAS Director, and Qurratu, project manager of sea cucumber aquaculture development in Selayar, delivered a talk on the threat of plastic waste to marine living resources and the role of youth to campaign to clean the ocean from plastic debris.
Since plastic takes a relatively very long time to decompose, during the process it can be broken down into smaller pieces until it is categorized as microplastics. According to research, microplastics were found in the edible parts of sea cucumbers, including those that are found around Tidung Island, Bira Island, and Bintan Island. This serves as a crucial warning that plastic debris poses a threat to the long-term viability of sea cucumber cultivation.
CSERM UNAS synergizes with SBSP as the local NGO with shared values regarding integrated environmental management, in this case plastic waste. Along with increasing awareness of the importance of protecting the ocean from plastic waste, there is hope for enhancing the sustainability of coastal and marine ecosystem services, particularly in Selayar, which will maintain the sustainability of coastal communities’ livelihoods and wellbeing.