No single-use plastic bags in Jakarta in six months' time

No single-use plastic bags in Jakarta in six months' time

plastic bags cloth tote bags Bali Indonesia
This photo taken on July 16, 2019 shows an employee packing groceries inside cloth tote bags instead of single-use plastic bags for customers at the check-out counter of a supermarket in Denpasar on Indonesia's resort island of Bali. (File photo: AFP/SONNY TUMBELAKA)

JAKARTA: The Indonesian capital of Jakarta will soon ban single-use plastic bags in markets and shopping centres, joining other cities in the region in reducing the use of disposables commonly associated with ocean pollution.

Departmental stores, supermarkets and traditional markets are affected by the ban, local media reported, paving the way for the use of eco-friendly bags.

According to Jakarta Post, the gubernatorial decree signed by Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan defined eco-friendly options as bags made from leaf, paper, cloth, polyester and its derivatives, as well as recycled material.

READ: Thai shoppers get creative after plastic bag ban

Such bags should have adequate thickness, are recyclable and designed to be used several times before they are disposed of.

Nonetheless, shops are still allowed to provide single-use plastic bags for “foodstuffs that have not been wrapped by any packaging”, the report added.

Failure to comply will result in written warnings and fines for the business operators. They also risk having their permits suspended or terminated.

Those who obey the regulation, meanwhile, will be rewarded with incentives in the form of tax relief or rebates, CNN Indonesia reported.  

The gubernatorial decree was signed on Dec 27 last year and will come into effect in six months’ time, said Mr Andono Warih, head of Jakarta’s Sanitation and Environment Agency.

READ: Trash for gold: Jakarta’s waste bank rewards residents for trading in recyclables

plastic bags Jakarta
This file photo dated 05 September 2003 shows Darsono, 44, a scavenger, collecting plastic bags from rubbish-covered river near his living area in Muara Karang in Jakarta. Rubbish is generally cast aside with little thought for the environment in Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous nation, while exhaust-belching traffic clogs the roads in big cities. (File photo: AFP/Bay Ismoyo) 

Indonesia, the world’s second biggest contributor of plastic pollutants in the oceans, churns out 9.85 billion plastic bags each year, Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati was reported as saying in July last year.

The government had wanted to impose a levy on plastic bags but the parliament decided to delay its approval so as to allow more time to deliberate on the issue.

With this new regulation, Jakarta joins the ranks of other Indonesian cities that have enforced a ban on single-use plastic bags, including Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan, Balikpapan in East Kalimantan, Bogor in West Java and Bali.  

Source: Agencies/tx(hm)