Who else wants to go on a plastic diet?
Almost every single men living in Indonesia know that plastic is not good for our health and environment. But however people that know the fact just simply ignore and keep on using plastic mostly for daily shopping needs and dispose household waste. This kind of behavior regarding the use of plastic has become a normality that is very hard to resist.
According the 13 edition of Journal Science, Indonesia managed to secure the 2nd place of becoming the biggest marine polluter in the world. Statistic showed that Indonesia has produced 3.2 million tons of plastic waste in 2010, with around 1.29 million tons swimming freely in the ocean. The question to be raise: Who is responsible for this proud achievement? Is it the government, companies that sold plastic or us as a consumer? At the end of the day we will always find someone to blame.
Recently the ministry of environment and forestry is experimenting a policy on all retailers to charge 200 RP for one plastic bag. You may shout loud and say it won’t reduce the purchase of plastic bags due to the reason that the price for a plastic bag is relatively cheap and affordable. But on the other hand we should appreciate the government effort too in taking a small step in changing slightly the consumptive behavior of consumer to buy plastic bags.
Equally important in the responsibility chain of plastic use are plastic companies. Hundred thousand of Indonesian labors are working for plastic companies and factories that produce soft drinks, snacks, junk foods that we buy almost every day in traditional market or supermarket. If the government bans these plastic companies and shut it immediately down for the sake of reducing plastic use, the economic impact will be like too big to fail. With this dilemma in mind the government should encourage and boost creative industries such as tumbler, friendly plastic made out pawn skins, fukorishiki, non-plastic bags and many more friendly packaging solutions. In addition to this matter a clear rule of law and a good political will can promote alternative industries. So that in the future these alternative industries will generate products that sooner or later replace plastic materials in a gradual way
We customers can educate ourselves regarding to plastic consumption, but sometimes we are too lazy or too busy to read a few articles that explain explicitly why plastic is dangerous. There is actually a simple rule in distinguishing the type of plastic and its utility base on the following image:
In regards to consumption the plastic type number 1 and 2 (Polyethylene) is only intended for one time use. Drinking bottle likes soda or mineral water usually use number 1 and 2. This type of plastic is sensitive to heat and sun light. A heat reaction melts the plastic and thus the chemical substance will be mix up with the drinking water. If consume, it will lead to carcinogenic (cancer). Whereas the type number 3 is not recommended for consumption due to its toxic substance and it is also difficult to recycle. Furthermore number 4 and 5 is the best plastic material for consumption and can be reuse often for storing foods in the fridge. However, do not use any plastic type for heating and avoid all types from sun light. Last but not least number 6 is the type of plastic you must avoid for consumption purpose. As an example type number 6 are found in Styrofoam and the substance polystyrene will cause damage towards the nervous system.
Knowing alone is only half the battle. There must be a connection between knowing something, self-awareness and action. And the connecting tool for a call of action is education. By reducing your plastic use you are not only living a healthier live but you also protect the lives of other plants and species inhabiting planet earth.