JAKARTA: The coastal community of Parepare in Sulawesi can count on the “friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man” when it comes to keeping the streets and beaches clean.
Cafe worker Rudi Hartono has made heads turn since he started wearing his red and blue Spider-Man costume to engage the public in the noble community work of keeping public places clean, according to The Jakarta Post.
"At first, I did the same activity without wearing this costume and it did not attract the public's attention in order for them to join and help pick up trash," he said, but that was before he turned to the “super-hero” recently.
"After wearing this costume, it turns out the public's response was extraordinary.”
On a more serious note Hartono said he hoped the government would put more effort to clean up trash and tighten rules on waste management including on single-use plastic bags.
"Minimizing plastic waste is the most important thing to do, because plastic is difficult to decompose," he said.
Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, generates 3.2 million tons a year of waste, with nearly half ending up in the sea, a 2015 study in the journal Science showed.
With a population of around 142,000, Parepare produces around 2.7 tons of unmanaged waste per day, according to data released in 2018 by the ministry of Environment and Forestry.
Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, is estimated to be the world’s second-largest producer of plastic pollutants in the oceans after China, the study added.
Hartono would normally start collecting rubbish as Spider-Man before his work starts at 7pm.
His efforts have helped put a spotlight on the waste issue nationally and he has been interviewed by the media, while dressed in his Marvel Comics super hero costume, to tell about his motivation.
Hartono revealed he bought the Spider-Man outfit simply to amuse his nephew before others in town took notice.
"We need a creative role model to foster society’s active engagement in protecting the environment," said Saiful Bahri, a resident of Parepare in southwest Sulawesi.