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Fishermen struggling to get a boat to sea through a swath of plastic waste choking Sukaraja beach in Bandar Lampung, Sumatra recently. -AFP
Fishermen struggling to get a boat to sea through a swath of plastic waste choking Sukaraja beach in Bandar Lampung, Sumatra recently. -AFP

JAKARTA: A plan to impose a tax on plastic products here received a rare nod of approval from environmental watchdog Greenpeace.

Greenpeace Indonesia said it was an important measure to reduce plastic waste that could damage the environment, according to The Jakarta Post.

Spokesman Muharram Atha Rasyadi said the country was at the peak of a plastic crisis.

“Our rivers and seas have become trash bins for plastic products.

“Taxes are a way to reign in plastic consumption, as single-use and non-recyclable plastic have damaged the environment and threatened human and animal life,” he said on Thursday, adding that the levy could be imposed on plastic packaging for food and beverages and other fast-moving consumer goods.

“An excise on single-use plastic products should be prioritised.”

Such a plan, he said, would be an encouragement for the industry to apply circular-economy mechanisms, which prioritise activities such as reusing and refilling activities.

“The circular economy is a sustainability concept that seeks to minimise waste by deploying resources optimally through reuse, recycling and remanufacturing.”

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrayati recently told House of Representatives Commission XI that the government was planning to impose an excise on plastics, among other commodities.

The plan was aimed at reducing plastic consumption by 50 per cent, she said, adding that the government hoped to encourage plastic producers to transform themselves into producers of environmentally-friendly goods.

The government had been planning to impose an excise on plastics since 2017, but had yet to receive approval from lawmakers.

Indonesia has been listed as the world’s second-largest marine polluter, as 15 per cent of 1.3 million tonnes to 195,000 tonnes of plastic waste end up in rivers and oceans each year.

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