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Jakarta Post

Toxic waste smuggling at Indonesian ports takes toll on local plastics industry

  • Kharishar Kahfi and Fadli¬†

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Jakarta and Batam   /   Fri, July 12, 2019   /  09:39 am
The Jakarta Post Image
Bogor Mayor Bima Arya holds a bag produced by Avani Eco Hub., which produces bags made of cassava fibers. Several cities in Indonesia, including Bogor, have banned single-use plastic to reduce the amount of untreated waste released into the environment. (JP/Theresia Sufa)

The plastics industry has begun to feel the pinch of the government’s crackdown on imports of plastic scraps, which are frequently smuggled into the country along with hazardous and toxic waste. Plastic tray producer PT Royal Citra Bersama, one of the companies whose containers were deemed illegal for containing toxic waste, abandoned operations on July 6, leaving 300 of its laborers unemployed. Upon visiting one of its plastic scrap processing plants in Batam, Riau Islands, on July 8, The Jakarta Post found a deserted factory with locked doors. An announcement written on a piece of paper on the factory’s front gate says that all operations were ceased on July 6. A security guard identified as Markus was the only person found at the location. “I was told to guard this plant, while all workers were sent home because we don’t have enough materials for ou...