REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- As many as 93 million plastic straws are used by Indonesians per day. The fact raised concern as it caused environmental pollution, especially in the waters.
"Plastic straws need long time to decompose. When micro plastic ends up in the waters, it would cause pollution and threaten the ecosystems. This is a serious problem," Environment and Forestry Ministry's Waste Management director Novrizal Tahar said in Jakarta on Monday.
The amount of plastic waste used in Indonesia continues to increase from 9 percent in 1995 to 16 percent this year. Disposable plastic bags, plastic straws, Styrofoam, and plastic bottles are widely used in Indonesia. Plastic straw, in particular, is included in the top 10 serious problems in the world.
"Plastic straws have become a serious issue as it ended up in the sea," Tahar continued.
Every year, around one third of marine biota, including coral reefs and even seabirds, die because of plastic wastes that end up in the ocean. This situation is very worrying, considering that coral reefs play a major role in protecting the coast from erosion, coastal flooding, and other destructive events caused by sea water phenomena. Coral reefs are also a place for food and growth for various marine biota.
Data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry show that about 70 percent of plastic waste in Indonesia can and has been recycled, but not plastic straws. No recyclers are willing to recycle the straws as it has no economic value.
Efforts to reduce the use of plastic straws have been carried out by many stakeholders, including McDonald's Indonesia with its #Mulaitanpasedotan (start with no straw) movement.
Tahar appreciated the commitment of the business community because it was important to educate consumers to be more environmentally friendly.
"The hope is that this campaign can become a lifestyle and be followed by other producers. This is a big step in changing lifestyles from both producers and consumers," he revealed.
The fast-food restaurant's commitment is marked by inserting a plastic straw into a chest as a sign that it is no longer using plastic straws.
"From today, we no longer use straws at 189 outlets of McDonald's in Indonesia. This movement can encourage people to reduce waste, especially plastic straws. Therefore, we want to invite people to stop using plastic straws," McDonalds Indonesia's Associate Director of Communications Sutji Lantyka remarked.