Indonesians welcome pay for plastic bag policy

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Indonesians have been quick to embrace the new policy of paying for plastic bags each time they purchase groceries, saying the environmental benefits outweigh the hassle of bringing their own bags, the Jakarta Globe reported.

In an interview, a teacher in Makassa, the capital of South Sulawesi, said she agreed with the policy as it can reduce plastic consumption.

She added that like many of her peers she often brings her own reusable canvas bags from home.

The policy, implemented in 22 cities across Indonesia, was rolled out on Sunday in a bid to cut down waste.

Indonesia ranks second among the world’s largest plastic waste producers, behind only China, using 187.2 million tons each year, according to a study published last year in the journal Science.

The policy will run as a trial for six months, before being implemented elsewhere if proven successful, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said.

Although the ministry recommends charging customers Rp 200 per bag, the actual costs are decided by provincial and city governments.