Jakarta – The Indonesian capital of Jakarta will soon ban single-use plastic bags in markets and shopping centres, joining other cities in the region in reducing the use of disposables commonly associated with ocean pollution.
Departmental stores, supermarkets and traditional markets are affected by the ban, local media reported, paving the way for the use of eco-friendly bags.
According to Jakarta Post, the gubernatorial decree signed by Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan defined eco-friendly options as bags made from leaf, paper, cloth, polyester and its derivatives, as well as recycled material.
Such bags should have adequate thickness, are recyclable and designed to be used several times before they are disposed of.
Nonetheless, shops are still allowed to provide single-use plastic bags for "foodstuffs that have not been wrapped by any packaging", the report added.
Failure to comply will result in written warnings and fines for the business operators. They also risk having their permits suspended or terminated.
Those who obey the regulation, meanwhile, will be rewarded with incentives in the form of tax relief or rebates, CNN Indonesia reported.
The gubernatorial decree was signed on Dec 27 last year and will come into effect in six months' time, said Mr Andono Warih, head of Jakarta's Sanitation and Environment Agency.
Indonesia, the world's second biggest contributor of plastic pollutants in the oceans, churns out 9.85 billion plastic bags each year, Indonesia's Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati was reported as saying in July last year.
The government had wanted to impose a levy on plastic bags but the parliament decided to delay its approval so as to allow more time to deliberate on the issue.
With this new regulation, Jakarta joins the ranks of other Indonesian cities that have enforced a ban on single-use plastic bags, including Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan, Balikpapan in East Kalimantan, Bogor in West Java and Bali.