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Plastic Bags Ban in Jakarta: Pro-Environment Policy Awakens Community Optimism Towards Earth-Saving Efforts

Plastic Bags Ban in Jakarta: Pro-Environment Policy Awakens Community Optimism Towards Earth-Saving Efforts

JAKARTA, Indonesia, Feb. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Governor of Jakarta Province, Anies Baswedan, has just issued Regulation of the Governor of Jakarta Province Number 142 of 2019 concerning Obligations to Use Environmentally Friendly Shopping Bags at Shopping Centers, Supermarkets, and Traditional Markets. The long-awaited regulation has been welcomed by the people of Jakarta Province, as news of its preparation had been circulating for more than one year. This regulation adds to the long list of provinces and regencies/cities in Indonesia that have banned the use of plastic bags, beginning with the city of Banjarmasin in 2016 followed by other regions, including the city of Bandung and the province of Bali which have also issued a similar regulation.

"The movement to phase out plastic bags that began almost 10 years ago in Indonesia is starting to show tangible, at-scale results. We are thrilled that early successes with a plastic bag charge trial in 2016 showed retailers and cities that it is possible to reduce dependency on single use plastics, and that snowball is still rolling thanks to a persistent civil society movement" said Tiza Mafira, as Executive Director of the Indonesian Movement for Plastic Bags Diet (GIDKP). "We at GIDKP appreciate the concrete steps taken by the DKI Jakarta Provincial Government to ban plastic bags, one of the worst culprits of plastic pollution in Indonesia's rivers. We hope that these regulations are strictly enforced and the people of Jakarta pitch in to making it a success," added Tiza.

A similar expression was also conveyed by D. Yuvlinda Susanta, Head of Corporate Communications and Sustainability of PT Lion Super Indo, "We greatly appreciate the substance of the regulation that accommodates the application of incentives and sanctions. We also appreciate that this regulation applies equally to supermarkets and public markets. " Super Indo is one of the supermarkets that has more than 10 years of implementing plastic bag reduction efforts and is the only supermarket that has continued to implement non-free plastic bags since it was tested nationally in 2016.

Appreciation was also conveyed by one of the leading beauty and body care product stores, The Body Shop Indonesia, which has also been campaigning for the reduction of plastic bags since 2013. "The Body Shop and I feel happy and appreciate that the Jakarta Province finally realized the dangers of plastic bags for our environment and took action. Since 2013, The Body Shop and its customers have always supported various movements and petitions for the #Pay4Plastic campaign, which led to the adoption of a plastic bag charge trial in 2016, as well as Jakarta's efforts to mandate the use environmentally friendly shopping bags since early 2019. Congratulations for Jakarta, which has finally officially banned the use of plastic bags. Hopefully in the future there will be a policy to ban other disposable plastics such as plastic straws and styrofoam, which have been banned in Bali. We hope the same for other regions in Indonesia," said Suzy Hutomo, Executive Chairwoman of The Body Shop Indonesia.

A similar tone was conveyed by fellow civil society groups who are members of the Alliance of Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI). AZWI leads a campaign in efforts to reduce single use plastic waste, namely "Ban the Big 5", which consists of plastic bags, polystyrene foam, straws, sachets, and microbeads.

"Nexus3 welcomes the new regulations issued by the Jakarta Governor regarding the ban on disposable plastic bags. This regulation will help reduce the release of toxic additives in plastics into the environment. Let's watch together and monitor the implementation!", said Yuyun Ismawati Drwiega, Senior Advisor of the Nexus3 Foundation.

"Based on data on brand audits conducted by Greenpeace in Indonesia in 2019, plastic bags are one of the most common types of waste with a finding of 1,503 items or 11% of the total waste being audited. In other words, the ban on plastic bags has indeed been urged to be implemented so that it can reduce the waste production that we produce," said Muharram Atha Rasyadi, Urban Campaigner Greenpeace Indonesia.

"Only about 20-30% of urban solid waste cannot be recycled and must be transported to landfills. If this policy is accompanied by the application of sorting and recycling of organic and inorganic waste, only a small amount of waste remains to be sent to the landfill site. Thus, the Jakarta Province can soon be free of dependence on landfill, and will not need expensive and polluting incinerators," said David Sutasurya, Executive Director of YPBB Bandung.

The impetus for the issuance of regulations on the prohibition of disposable plastics, especially plastic bags in Jakarta Province, is also one of the demands echoed by the Plastic Free Parade in July 2019, a peaceful march attended by thousands and supported by 49 civil society groups including GIDKP, Greenpeace Indonesia, Indorelawan, Divers Clean Action, Pandu Laut, Pulau Plastik and others. Initiators of the march expressed appreciation for the new regulation.

"We see the enthusiasm of volunteers increasing on environmental issues, especially the problem of plastic waste. Several times we collaborated with environmental organizations to make various activities on the issue, ranging from workshops, discussions to campaigns on social media. As a result, many young people want to take the role to be involved. This means they have been moved and want to learn more about plastic issues," said Marsya Nurmaranti, Executive Director of Indorelawan.

"The majority of inorganic waste found from our research in coastal areas in 2019 is disposable plastic waste that is still difficult to recycle. The disposable plastic waste referred to is plastic bags, polystyrene foam, sachets, straws and bottled drinking water. Waste that pollutes the ocean can come from human activities in urban areas, where the waste is thrown away or thrown into the river and ends up at sea. This regulation should have a positive impact. If we close the source of waste, it is hoped that it will reduce the leakage of waste into our oceans," said Swietenia Puspa Lestari, Executive Director of DIvers Clean Action.

"The ban on plastic bags in Jakarta is a big step in creating a cleaner and healthier Jakarta Province. The snowball effect of this kind of action will drive a positive impact, not only on the problem of municipal waste disposal, but also in providing better air and water quality. A cleaner Jakarta means healthier Jakartans and creates a positive impact on lifestyle and economy," said Wijaya Surya, the initiator of the Jakarta Beach Clean Up Community.

The scope of this regulation is the obligation to use environmentally friendly shopping bags that have adequate thickness and are designed to be reused. Retailers must stop providing single-use plastic shopping bags, and the use of single-use plastic packaging for food  wrapping should be limited. This regulation applies to supermarkets, shop owners in shopping malls and traditional markets. Incentives will be given to those who perform well in complying with regulations and sanctions for those who do not comply.

Support from various civil society and business sectors above are a strong evidence that enforcement of regulations prohibiting plastic bags in Jakarta Province can be carried out for the creation of an environment free from plastic pollution. It is expected that this regulation will contribute to achieving the national target of 30% waste reduction by 2025 and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2030.

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