MetroUK has reported how Indonesia has announced that single-use plastics will be banned from street markets and shopping malls in its capital Jakarta. The city is listed as the second worst offender for polluting the world’s oceans with plastic but a ban will now be in force from the middle of this year.
The move follows steps taken by the Indonesian holiday island of Bali, which outlawed plastic in despair over the amount of rubbish washing up on its once-pristine beaches. According to a 2015 Science journal report, China is the worst offender when it comes to dumping plastic into the sea, followed by Indonesia.
Jakarta’s environmental agency said the city’s landfills are near capacity and now Anies Baswedan, the city’s Governor, has signed new regulations. They state that shopkeepers and stallholders should provide environmentally-friendly carrier bags in future and the penalties for violations would range from written warnings, to fines of anywhere between $360 (£270) and $1,800 (£1,355).
Shopkeepers also face the suspension or termination of their trading permits if they continue to flout the ban. The forms of plastic banned in the regulation include latex, thermoplastic and polyethylene.
Tutum Rahanta, who represents an association of shopping centre tenants, said the government had failed to think through the alternatives. He added: ‘Consumers should not be sacrificed. ‘The government wanted to [ban plastic bags], but when we asked them what the alternative would be, they never thought about that.’
Ardiansyah Rizza, 34, a souvenir vendor in an East Jakarta modern market, said people accepted change was needed, but complained that six months was not long enough to make the move over to shopping without plastic bags. ‘The period between January to June is too short,’ he said. There are now 74 countries that have introduced a ban on plastic bags with a further 37 that impose charges for their use.