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Indonesian students use puppets to banish 'big ghost' of plastic waste

Updated : 2019-10-28 15:31:30

In a year when young people worldwide have followed the example of activist Greta Thunberg in flagging environmental concerns, Indonesian students are using plastic items to make the puppet characters that bring alive traditional tales.

The scene is much like any other Indonesian puppet show: the beat of the gongs is frenetic, the musicians wear intricately-patterned traditional costumes and the puppets sway back and forth in a fast-paced exchange laced with maniacal laughter.<br />But the puppets have bottle-cap noses and long, pink hair made from shredded plastic bags, and are being manipulated by schoolchildren taking their show on the road to the capital, Jakarta, from their home on the central island of Lombok. Mandatory credit Sasak Puppeteer School/Handout via REUTERS
The scene is much like any other Indonesian puppet show: the beat of the gongs is frenetic, the musicians wear intricately-patterned traditional costumes and the puppets sway back and forth in a fast-paced exchange laced with maniacal laughter.
But the puppets have bottle-cap noses and long, pink hair made from shredded plastic bags, and are being manipulated by schoolchildren taking their show on the road to the capital, Jakarta, from their home on the central island of Lombok. Mandatory credit Sasak Puppeteer School/Handout via REUTERS
Puppeteers perform on stage with puppets made out of plastic waste in Jakarta. In a year when young people worldwide have followed the example of activist Greta Thunberg in flagging environmental concerns, Indonesian students are using plastic items to make the puppet characters that bring alive traditional tales. Mandatory credit Sasak Puppeteer School/Handout via REUTERS
Puppeteers perform on stage with puppets made out of plastic waste in Jakarta. In a year when young people worldwide have followed the example of activist Greta Thunberg in flagging environmental concerns, Indonesian students are using plastic items to make the puppet characters that bring alive traditional tales. Mandatory credit Sasak Puppeteer School/Handout via REUTERS
Abdul Latief's troupe started to make puppets from plastic waste last year. It is a disposal method that generates educational material for audiences dominated by children, in a country home to a strong tradition of shadow puppetry, known as wayang kulit.  Mandatory credit Sasak Puppeteer School/Handout via REUTERS
Abdul Latief's troupe started to make puppets from plastic waste last year. It is a disposal method that generates educational material for audiences dominated by children, in a country home to a strong tradition of shadow puppetry, known as wayang kulit.  Mandatory credit Sasak Puppeteer School/Handout via REUTERS
Most of the puppeteers are aged from about seven to 16. They collect and sort through waste from their own neighbourhoods, washing plastic containers and painting faces on paper cups, before assembling the figures using bamboo sticks. Mandatory credit Sasak Puppeteer School/Handout via REUTERS
Most of the puppeteers are aged from about seven to 16. They collect and sort through waste from their own neighbourhoods, washing plastic containers and painting faces on paper cups, before assembling the figures using bamboo sticks. Mandatory credit Sasak Puppeteer School/Handout via REUTERS
Children lay down as they play on pile of rubbish at Bangun village in Mojokerto, East Java province, Indonesia. The sprawling Southeast Asian archipelago was the world's second-biggest contributor of plastic pollutants in the oceans, a 2015 study in the journal Science showed. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Children lay down as they play on pile of rubbish at Bangun village in Mojokerto, East Java province, Indonesia. The sprawling Southeast Asian archipelago was the world's second-biggest contributor of plastic pollutants in the oceans, a 2015 study in the journal Science showed. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
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