Confusion, resistance as Indonesian capital starts single-use plastics ban

JAKARTA — Confusion reigned in malls and markets in Indonesia’s capital on Thursday as a new ban on single-use plastics in one of the world’s biggest ocean-polluting nations failed to gain much traction.

Despite repeated announcements over loudspeakers and signs and banners forbidding single-use plastic bags, it was business as usual at one Jakarta market, where shoppers and vendors were unsure what they should use instead.

“I’m confused and also my buyers are even more confused,” said Hadi, a vendor, who like many Indonesians uses only one name. “I sell fish and there is nothing I can use except plastic bags.”

Plastic bags of all sizes and colors were openly in use all around the aging Lenteng Agung traditional market on the second day of the plastics ban.

Shopper Khairani said she backs the ban but only if there are viable alternatives.

“With fish and chicken, you cannot use anything other than plastic,” she said, carrying two plastic bags in each hand.

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