Indonesia investigates a plastic tax

April 13, 2018


According to some studies, Indonesia is the second-largest contributor to ocean plastics pollution after China. The government recently began to investigate how plastic taxes may relieve some of the issue.


Indonesia's plastics industry objects, however, debating that the central problem is waste management systems rather than plastic production. The government's aim in introducing a tax is to make the industry financially responsible for flooding inadequate waste collection and recycling systems with plastic, often single-use items. Though a tax on plastic may not be a universal solution, improving the waste collection infrastructure will still require new funds. 


The Indonesian Olefin, Aromatic and Plastic Industry Association argued that a tax on plastic would be counterproductive because it would harm the industry – small manufacturers would be especially effected. Investments would be damaged, and there would be less opportunity to create jobs.


At the same time, leaving the plastic problem alone will soon harm Indonesia's tourist industry. Research has also showed that microplastics are found in the fish sold on Indonesian markets, potentially posing a public health risk.


With Southeast Asia being one of the largest sources of plastic ocean pollution, the global plastics industry is part of a $150 million effort with environmental NGOs to develop best practices in Asia for local municipalities to improve recyclable plastic collection.


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