Indonesia: Bandung implements ban on styrofoam use

Arya Dipa The Jakarta Post 3 Nov 16;

Residents of Bandung, West Java, have welcomed the implementation of a styrofoam ban in the city, but demanded that the city administration also provide replacement materials.

The ban, which is in force this month, was stipulated in a circular sent down to subdistricts across
the city.

Ria Ismaria, an environmental activist from Bandung Juara Bebas Sampah, said that the use of styrofoam in food packaging was hard to avoid because of its low price. The administration, therefore, had to educate people about substitutes.

“Especially snack retailers,” Ria told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

She said the use of non-styrofoam materials in food packaging was very possible. As an example, she said that spring-roll sellers could return to using banana leaves as a substitute for styrofoam.

In this case, she said, the city administration, through the agriculture agency, could develop banana plantations to supply banana leaves for that purpose.

“That way [the administration] does not just ban but makes an effort to provide substitutes,” Ria said.

She said that the ban should be the basis for the administration to create a circular economy, a term that refers to an industrial economy that aims for increased resource productivity to reduce waste and pollution.

Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil said the administration would roll out an information campaign about the ban and expressed hopes that subdistrict heads would take the lead in disseminating information to people in their respective regions.

With the release of circular, he said, subdistrict heads now had the right to warn people about the ban. When a violation is committed, subdistrict administrations could issue a written warning to companies or sellers still using styrofoam, he added.

“If the violation continues, their business license will be revoked,” said Ridwan.

The ban on styrofoam use, he said, was because it is nonrecyclable and non-evironmentally-friendly materials were used in the making of it.

Ridwan also said that food manufacturer Indofood, which has used styrofoam in its product packaging, had expressed a commitment to comply with the new policy.

“They were afraid of experiencing a decrease in sales. They finally had a meeting with me and said they would follow the mayoral policy,” Ridwan said as quoted by tribunnews.com.

Previously, executive director of the American Environmental Health Studies Project, Paul Connett, who came to Bandung recently to share the zero-waste concept, said that the government had a role to play in the creation of a circular economy.

He said the ban on the use of styrofoam and other nonrecyclable materials had to include the establishment of a zero-waste research center to study the nonrecyclable materials.

“This is the role of the university, where community responsibility meets the industrial community,” Paul said at Bandung City Hall during his visit.

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