Sustainable consumption needed for environmental health

People’s awareness about environmental sustainability needs to be increased to force industries to produce environmentally friendly goods, an expert has said.

Leader of the policy support Indonesia team at Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP), Edzard Ruehe, said sustainable consumption would help to keep the environment clean and healthy.

“In Indonesia, there is still too much environmental pollution caused by ordinary people and industries. Many of the rivers in big cities, as well as beaches, are littered with plastic garbage,” Edzard said in a discussion in Yogyakarta on Friday.

He said that, of course, people had to buy food and other goods to survive, but the promotion of sustainable consumption was also important for their well-being.

By adopting a sustainable consumption pattern, people will only consume goods that are produced and distributed in an eco-friendly way. Such goods should also be energy efficient and recyclable.

“People need to demand environmentally friendly goods, otherwise industrial players will not produce these kinds of products,” he said.

Edzard explained that in most Western European countries, such as Germany, civil society was the main actor in promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle, including sustainable consumption. He added that Europeans were not afraid to protest about air pollution or environmental degradation.

“This led to the establishment of the Green Party - a party whose prime concern is the environment - which collaborated with the German government to introduce policies and regulations that would reduce negative environmental impact,” he said.

The SCP is currently working together with the Environment Ministry to increase public awareness about the importance of sustainable consumption.

“There needs to be a widespread dissemination of information for people about environmentally friendly products,” Edzard said.

He added that the government already had a policy relating to the SCP, on the labeling of timber. “Policies relating to the SCP will be included in the National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) for 2015-2019,” he said.

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