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• New government policies in Bali are going into effect, regarding a ban against single-use plastic. While this is a win for environmental groups, critics remain skeptical if it's enough to address Bali's larger waste management problems.
• What other policies should officials be thinking about as next steps to decrease marine pollution and waste?
• Read about these seven massive wins in the fight against plastics.
In an unprecedented move last December, Bali Governor Wayan Koster introduced an all-encompassing ban against single-use plastic, including plastic bags, Styrofoam and straws, though some remain skeptical on the effectiveness of the policy in mitigating the devastating impact of plastic waste.
Retailers in the city of Denpasar have already adopted the rule, which will enter into force across the whole island following a six-month grace period with an ambitious target of cutting marine plastic pollution by 70% within 12 months.
It is a milestone achievement for local activists such as Bye Bye Plastic Bags, a youth-driven movement by teenagers Isabel and Melati Wijsen, whose campaign against single-use plastic resulted in the governor signing a Memorandum of Understanding to ban plastic bags by the end of 2018.
Critics warn, however, that these government policies only provide a surface solution to the fundamental issue of waste mismanagement in the country.
Indonesia produces 3.22 million tons of plastic waste every year, making it the world’s second largest plastic polluter after China.
Industry representatives, including the Indonesian Olefin, Aromatic and Plastic Industry Association, advise that instead of targeting consumers and sanctioning the use of plastic, the focus should shift to improving industrial waste management in the country.
In addition, taxing or banning plastic bags specifically is no panacea to the scourge of plastic waste. The majority of marine plastic debris – a whopping 70% – comes from food and beverage packaging. Plastic packaging, including food wraps and sauce sachets, for instance, are so small that they often escape collection, and end up on beaches, in rivers and in oceans.
Read the full article about banning plastic by Trang Chu Minh at Causeartist