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Jakarta Post

Traditional markets to join pay-per-plastic bag program

  • Ni Komang Erviani

    The Jakarta Post

Denpasar   /   Mon, February 29, 2016   /  07:11 am

As modern retailers begin to implement the plastic reduction policy, traditional markets in Bali are following suit.

At Agung Peninjoan traditional market in Denpasar, vendors have stopped using plastic bags and now use paper bags instead.

One seller, Kadek Sariasih, said she was more than happy to support the plastic reduction policy by using paper bags, which are provided by the market'€™s operator.

'€œI feel happy giving paper bags to customers instead of plastic bags. I used to use plastic to pack the things in,'€ said 29-year-old Sariasih while putting a big load of chilis into a paper bag for a customer.

Recently, the market'€™s management launched a program that required sellers to change to paper bags, making it one of two traditional markets '€” the other being Sindu market in Sanur '€” to participate in the plastic diet.

Head of Agung Peninjoan market'€™s management, Nyoman Suwarta, said the program was aimed at educating vendors and customers about the danger of plastic for the environment.

As a start, the operator made the paper bags by themselves and distributed 300 to each vendor during the program'€™s launch.

But with a total of around 350 vendors, Suwarta admitted that the first lot was far from enough to replace plastic bags altogether. '€œThe paper bags are only part of our attempt to raise awareness. We hope that vendors will make paper bags by themselves in the future,'€ Suwarta said.

A few modern retailers in Bali have implemented the plastic bag policy, such as Alfamart and Hardy'€™s, and some will start implementing it in the near future.

Denpasar Environment Agency head Anak Agung Bagus Sudharsana said the plastic bag payment program would be implemented in several phases. '€œOur target is for all modern retailers and traditional market in Denpasar to have implemented the plastic bag policy by June on World Environment Day,'€ he said.

He said the policy was expected to reduce plastic garbage in the city by around 30 percent. Denpasar produces at least 3,200 cubic meters of garbage every day, 30 percent of which is plastic.

Bali Environment Education Center (PPLH) stated that the policy should be accompanied by other programs to make it more effective.

PPLH director Catur Yudha Haryani said the policy would be useless if the price of plastic bags was too cheap, adding it should be set at Rp 3,000 (22 US cents) per bag in traditional markets and Rp 5,000 in modern supermarket.

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