Anti-Plastic Straw Movement Trending In Indonesia, What’s Next?

McDonald's at Cilandak Mall, Cilandak KKO. Photo by: Nur Cholis

JAKARTA, Indonesia (ViaNews) – Plastic straws are used everywhere, mostly in restaurants. Just imagine how many millions of straws are polluting the environment. People have, however, started reducing the use of plastic straws.

According to data from Divers’ Clean Action, Indonesians use 93 million plastic straws every day, and if they aren’t recycled, they will damage the environment. Few people care about plastic straw waste and its devastating impact.

McDonalds Indonesia started launched a movement called #StartWithoutStraw on November 12 aimed at raising an awareness of the dangerous effect of plastic waste.

According to McDonald’s Indonesia Associate Director Communication, Sutji Lantyka, there are 190 McDonald’s outlets across Indonesia which are no longer providing plastic straws. However, there are still some types of beverages using straws at the customer’s request.

“What we take out first is the flexi straw because we cannot eliminate beverages at McCafe yet due to the natures of those products. Therefore, we are still looking for a better solution. We no longer use straws for any types of soft drink,s orange, ice lemon tea, milo, teh botol (the most popular instant tea brand), we do not provide straws for them,” Sutji said.

Sutji added that the ban of plastic straw use is a part of a global plan and it is expected the franchise will solely rely on eco-friendly recycled and certified materials by 2025.

The scariest fact about plastic waste in the ocean

The death of a sperm whale last Monday in Kapota Island, Wakatobi District, Southeast Sulawesi sent a strong warning to the Indonesian government about the danger of plastic waste.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Indonesian authorities found out that the whale swallowed 5,9 kilograms of plastic waste, consisting of 115 plastic cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, two pairs of rubber sandals, and more than 1,000 various plastic products.

Based on the Indonesian Plastic Industry Association (Inaplas) and the Statistics Central Agency (BPS), the country’s plastic waste reaches 64 million tons per year, 3,2 million tons of which are plastic waste dumped in the ocean.

Plastic waste accounts for 16 percent of Indonesia’s total waste per year.
Indonesia is the second largest plastic waste producing country after China. Even the Citarum River in Bandung, West Java, is named as the world’s dirtiest river according to the World Bank (WB).

The effort to curb plastic waste is still a long way to go

The call for an end of plastic use is ringing again following the death of the whale. The government is reportedly discussing the effort to reduce plastic waste in Indonesia, including the application of sanctions and the obligation to pay to use a plastic bag.

“There are some plans about what to do, including disincentive to deter plastic bag use, we are discussing on sanctions. We’re still discussing on the effort to reduce plastic waste,” said Vice-President, Jusuf Kalla, Friday (November 23).

As previously known, the government once held a trial in the implementation of a disincentive for plastic bag use at groceries. However, the policy was not effective in curbing plastic waste in compliance with the Presidential Decree No.97/2017 on National Policy and Strategy for the Household and Similar Household Waste.

Nadia Mulya, Indonesian presenter and former beauty queen, created a petition to call for the implementation of customs duty on plastic products six months ago,

Nadya argued that imposition of a customs duty on plastic is proven to be successful in reducing the numbers of plastic.

In Washington DC, for example, the use of plastic has dropped to 85 percent since the implementation of the customs duty on plastic worth $ 0.05 since 2009. In the U.K, the use of plastic has fallen to 80 percent since an excise was imposed in 2015.

The idea of an excise imposed on plastic was previously discussed in the Ministry of Finance.

“But we are now focusing on the excise on plastic. More and more people care about the environment and health issues,” said The Finance Ministry’s customs and excise director general, Heru Pambudi in March 2017.

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