Jakarta banning plastic bags would be the greatest victory against plastic pollution, anywhere in the world.
That’s why comments by the Jakarta Environmental Agency to do just that are so exciting. Yet so surprising.
According to Kompas, head of the agency Isnawa Adji, stated:
“The most important point is that we want to ban the use of single-use plastics, such as kresek-kresek [plastic grocery bags].”
The policy has been inspired by the critical levels of plastic waste, posing health risks and wrecking havok on Indonesia’s outstanding biodiversity.
A momentarily helpful plastic bag becomes an environmental hazard for a 1,000 years.
“Plastics are potentially dangerous for human health because they have carcinogens that can cause cancer. This is important because there is a lot of trash in Jakarta, such as in the gutters, roads and sidewalks.”
Despite popular belief, Jakartans are ready and willing to reduce plastic waste.
According to a survey by the Indonesia Plastic Bags Diet Movement (GIDKP), more than 90 percent of the residents of Jakarta agreed to reduce their use of plastics.
Could we be entering the plastic revolution the country’s environment desperately needs?
There is an argument that an immediate ban on plastic bags would cause the city to implode, like if IndoMie were banned overnight.
Isnawa has said that, before a ban is implemented:
“There is a time, say six months to educate first.”
His hope, for example, is that efforts made by fast food restaurants to reduce plastic straws will be followed by other businesses.
“Perhaps there should be incentives and disincentives for retailers [to reduce plastic use]. That’s what we would try to discuss with retailers. Not that we hate plastics producers — we want their opinions too. We will discuss it.”
Education is a hell of task when you’re dealing with a habit so deeply ingrained… particularly when his rhetoric suggests there is no plan.
But it is a start.
Remember the No Free Plastic trial In 2016?
Even a cost of Rp.200 (about as close to $0.00 as any currency can get) – plastic bag usage was reduced by 55%
How about that for education!
Sure, the various stakeholders of society will be consulted before anything is implemented, but it is up to those who dream of a clean Jakarta to do our part.
The mild convenience single-use plastic provides Jakartans, and Indonesian’s around the country, is so deeply ingrained, it will take a brave, almost superhuman effort to take the leap to ban plastic bags.
Though you just have to look at an overflowing river this rainy season in Jakarta. Drastic solutions are not up for debate.
They are essential. They are needed now.
Indeed, a ban on single-use plastic bags could pave the way for innovative Indonesian brands that are at the forefront of the biodegradable tech space.
Companies like Avani and Evoware are proudly Indonesian start-ups that are just waiting for the space to be cleared for a plastic-free revolution.
We are the Capital City of the World’s Second Worst Ocean Polluter.
This ban would not only be Jakarta taking responsibility.
We would be global leaders in the fight to save the environment.
Sources: Jakarta Post | Kompas