Indonesia holds the unfortunate distinction of being the world’s second largest producer of plastic marine waste in the world, behind only China. A great deal of that waste comes from the 9.8 billion (!) plastic bags the country is estimated to use each year.
The Indonesia government is going to need to make a lot of changes if it is going to achieve its goal of achieving a 70% reduction in plastic and other marine waste within the next seven years, but Bogor, one of Jakarta’s satellite cities, is going to do its part by banning the use of plastic bags at shopping centers and supermarkets before the end of this year.
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At the Our Ocean Conference in Bali yesterday, Bogor Mayor Bima Arya told the media that his city’s plastic bag ban is set for implementation on December 1. He said his administration has already socialized the policy to the city of nearly 1 million people over the last three months.
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Arya told state-run news agency Antara that implementing the ban could be difficult, mainly because they were planning on relying on consumers to bring their own shopping bags. But he said he was at the conference hoping to find cheap, environmentally friendly alternatives. He also said his government would work to support small entrepreneurs who could produce and sell reusable shopping bags for citizens.
Bogor is not the only place in Indonesia preparing a plastic bag ban. The cities of Banjarmasin and Balikpapan are also preparing their own regulations and Bali’s capital of Denpasar announced plans to ban plastic bag use starting on January 1 of next year.
At last year’s World Oceans Summit in Bali, government officials pledged to spend $1 billion a year to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic and other waste polluting its waters including support for new industries that produce biodegradable materials such as cassava and seaweed as plastic alternatives as well as incentives for local governments seeking to decrease plastic bag use.