TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesia has been named the world's second largest producer of rubbish found in the world's ocean, with the figure standing at 187,2 million tonnes contributed by Indonesia alone.
"We are second only to China, which dumps some 262,9 million tonnes of rubbish into the ocean," said the Directorate General for Garbage, Waste Management, and Dangerous Chemicals for the Ministry of Forestry and the Environments, Tuti Hendrawati Mintarsih in Jakarta onTuesday, February 9, 2016.
According to Tuti, the government needs to intervene as without an efficient intervention, the by 2020, the number of rubbish in the ocean will be roughly equivalent to the number of fishes in the ocean - in fact, continued Tuti, it will be enough to cover the city of Bandung with trash.
Furthermore, continued Tuti, Indonesia needs to gear up on developing the technology which would allow us to process and minimise plastic waste - which includes the development of a more, bio-degradable plastic.
Indonesia, continued Tuti, has already managed to come up with a prototype of bio-degradable that is made out of cornstarch, which bio-degrades faster than existing types of degradable plastic. "We need to speed up the development, especially since there are a lot of examples from abroad which we could use as a reference," Tuti said.
The Ministry also plans to try out a surcharge scheme to discourage the use of plastic, which is due to begin on Sunday, February 21, 2016. The idea is quite simple - by adding a financial cost to usage, it is expected to discourage the use of plastic and drive consumers to bring their own reusable shopping bags.
The Ministry is still discussing the mechanism of the scheme with the Indonesian Retailers' Association (APRINDO), the Trade Ministry and Indonesian Consumer Protection Agency (YLKI) - in fact, it has yet to decide on the amount of surcharge to be imposed. The Ministry's plan is to set the surcharge at Rp 500 apiece.
MAWARDAH NUR HANIFIYANI