Indonesia Launches Campaign to Reduce Use of Plastic Bags

Plastic rubbish in the world's oceans will outweigh fish by 2050.
Plastic rubbish in the world’s oceans will outweigh fish by 2050.

Jakarta, 12 Jumadal Awwal 1437/22 February 2016 (MINA) – Indonesia on Sunday (Feb 21) launched a nationwide campaign to reduce the use of plastic bags, with guidelines for retailers to charge consumers up to Rp5,000 (US$0.37) for each plastic bag used.

Although still under trial and not officially legislated yet, 23 cities and regions in the country have already started charging for plastic bags, Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) reported, quoting CNA.

According to guidelines issued by the Environment Ministry, retailers should charge consumers between Rp200 and Rp5,000 for each bag. Jakarta’s municipal government has said it wants retailers in the capital to charge the maximum Rp5,000.

Indonesia is the world’s second-biggest user of plastic bags after China, with around 9.8 billion plastic bags used in the country each year.

The figure is expected to rise significantly together with the country’s burgeoning middle-class that currently stands at around 74 million people and is expected to double by 2020.

Retailers’ association APRINDO said its 100 members used nearly 11 million plastic bags last year. Its target is to reduce the figure by 20 per cent by 2020.

The campaign’s biggest challenge is to convince small retailers in traditional stores and markets, which account for 90 per cent of the country’s retail sector.

Major cities in Indonesia are facing waste management problems with limited landfills. The government has said it plans to build several plants to turn the waste into energy.  (R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)