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Image: Fabric shopping bags are the in thing. Credit: Smithsonian Magazine

Denpasar Environment and Sanitary Board (DLHK) checked several larger stores on the first day of the new Reduction of Plastic Bag Usage regulation, and they found several of them providing plastic bags to their customers. The DLHK has giving them a month to implement the new law and warned them that they will revoke their business permits if they still violate the regulation.

Several large stores told yesterday that they are still adapting to the new regulation. “Yes, we admit that we still provide plastic bags, but only for today (yesterday). We won’t provide them anymore starting from tomorrow (today), because we have provided a cloth bag,” said an employee of Circle K on Jalan WR Supratman, Denpasar. He also said that the recycling bag will be sold at a price of Rp 3,500 to customers who need the bag. “The cloth bag will be sold for Rp 3,500. We still provide the plastic bag, but just for today,” he added.

One of the store’s customers, Inggrid Paramita, said that the store was still providing plastic bags when she was shopping there. “They still provide the plastic bag, but they said it’s only for today and they won’t provide it anymore starting from tomorrow,” she said. Paramita also said that she hasn’t prepared any bag for herself, because the socialization is too sudden. “I didn’t prepare a bag, that’s why they gave me this plastic bag,” she added.

The Head of Denpasar DLHK, I Ketut Wisada, said when he was asked yesterday that his department will assign a monitoring team to check the larger stores first, because the business owners have agreed that they won’t provide any plastic bags in the hope of preserving the environment. He has given an ultimatum to those stores until the end of January 2019, and will be given a first, second and third warning. If they still provide any plastic bags, the department will revoke their business permit.

“We have socialized the regulation for a long time. If they still violate the regulation in a month, we will give a warning and then revoke their business license,” he said.

Wisada also said that his team will share eco-friendly bags to store customers around Denpasar. “We will provide approximately 1,000 bags only for this month, and we won’t provide any more next month. We provide these bags as part of the socialization, and we will keep evaluating it,” he added.

Meanwhile, several customers were seen to have prepared their own bags to anticipate the regulation, so they won’t need to buy one in the stores. “We support the plastic bag ban. But they must provide a stronger bag,” said Made Sumadi when he was shopping on Ramayana-Robinson on Jalan Diponegoro.

Several business owners also said that they have already prepared for the regulation. “We didn’t provide plastic bags anymore,” said Tiara Dewata GM Assistant, Novie Setyo Utomo. He added that if the customers have a plastic bag, it’s because they brought it themselves.