Mayor Ridwan Kamil is banning styrofoam food packaging from Bandung starting next month

Indonesia’s efforts to reduce waste and protect the environment took a big step backwards recently after the Indonesian Retail Enterprises Association scrapped a rule requiring customers to pay for plastic bags at stores earlier this month. But at least there are some cities like Bandung that are still fighting to prevent a garbage-filled future for Indonesia.

Yesterday, Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil announced that he was banning ubiquitous food packaging from his city, alongside photos showing the impact of slow-decaying styrofoam on landfill sites.

As of November 1, 2016, Styrofoam packing of food / beverages will be prohibited in the city of Bandung. Especially for national instant noodle products, this policy will be communicated to manufacturers.

Those who are accustomed to using styrofoam for ‘takeaway’ at food stalls, street vendors, catering etc, kindly adjust, particularly for lovers of Seblak.” 

It is impressive that the new law will not simply target restaurants and small scale vendors who use styrofoam, but also the products of major food manufacturers as well. While some in Bandung who are addicted to their daily cup-o-noodles more than the Earth may be upset, Ridwan said the policy was aimed not just at protecting the environment but his citizen’s health as well, telling Tempo that styrofoam was known to contain cancer causing chemicals.

Ridwan also said that styrofoam was the main type of trash clogging waterways and rivers in Bandung, leading to flooding. “It is the most dominant type of garbage, especially in rivers, and the buildup of styrofoam garbage is nearly impossible to clear,” he said yesterday as quoted by Tempo.

Ridwan said that the policy would be socialized for the next two week to give people time to adjust, but after that, punishments for violators would be severe. He said that stores or food vendors caught using styrofoam more than three times, they would see their business licenses revoked.

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