It’s been a a tragedy filled end to 2018 in Indonesia.
But the Island of the Gods has provided some festive cheer with a bold new program, and a glimmer of hope…
Bali Governor Wayan Koster has enacted a ban on single-use plastics in a new policy that aims to curb the islands marine plastic pollution by 70% in 2019.
The ban includes shopping bags, styrofoam and straws in an effort to curb pollution entering Bali’s waters.
Enacted on 21st December, the ban has a 6-month grace period to give businesses a chance to react.
Hot Air Or Fiery Intent?
Such moves have been talked about for the best part of a decade.
But make no mistake, the Governor is serious:
“This policy is aimed at producers, distributors, suppliers and business actors, including individuals, to suppress the use of single-use plastics.”
The move will require huge changes to business in Bali, not least in the way that food-delivery apps act, as our guest contributer Erwin Susanto eloquently exposed just 3 days before.
Wayan Koster continued:
“They must substitute plastics with other materials.”
This could be a fantastic opportunity for Indonesian start-ups like Avani and Evoware to bring in paper, cassava and other biodegradable substitutes for plastic.
Because if consumer patterns curtail slower than the policy, and Bali’s businesses fail to react, the repercussions will be extreme.
“If they disobey, we will take action, like not extending their business permit,”
Experts believe 80% of the trash on Bali’s beaches originates from the island itself.
Rubbish collected by informal workers from hotels and villages is often dumped in rivers.
These in turn carry the waste out to sea.
Waste eventually finds its way back to the resort island’s beaches on coastal tides and currents.
The vicious cycle needs to be amended with stronger waste management programs, which is not addressed in the ban.
But make no mistake, this is an important step.
Bali has a plastic consciousness that is unrivalled in Indonesia, epitomised by the Bye Bye Plastic Bag Movement, who’s efforts and direct contact the Governors office have played a huge role in the decision.
It could prove to be the first significant move for Bali – and Indonesia – becoming plastic neutral.
Removing as much plastic from the waste cycle is integral to Bali living up to the title Island of the Gods.
Indeed, cleanliness is next to Godliness.
Sources: Channel News Asia | Jakarta Post