Jakarta (ANTARA) - Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno has asked regions to follow in the steps of Bali Province, which has prohibited the use of plastic bags and straws.

He advised provincial, city, and district governments to apply the policy in tourist attractions and creative economy centers, for instance, at snacks, culinary, and gift shop centers, at the least.

"Bali and several regions, as priority (tourist) destinations, are very concerned about (the environment and have, therefore, given serious consideration to) the program (to ban plastic bags and straws)," he stated in a text message, which was received by ANTARA on Thursday.

According to him, the policy needs to be imposed immediately as the global community's concern for the environment is becoming increasingly serious.

He said sustainable tourism is increasingly becoming a trend both for local and international tourists.

"The world community's concern for environmental preservation to make the Earth healthier and more suitable for living has an impact on the tourism industry, which lately has been racing toward green tourism," he noted.

The minister expressed his serious intention of handling plastic waste at tourist attractions in the country. He said that he even discussed the issue at a United Nations assembly in New York, the United States, in 2022.

"At that meeting, we presented strategic programs in an effort to develop quality and sustainable tourism that is friendly to nature preservation and culture of the people around tourism destinations," he said.

He informed that, during the meeting, he also introduced and promoted purun grass (Lepironia articulate) as a substitute for plastic straws.

Under the 2018–2025 National Action Plan for the Management of Marine Debris, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry has been given four tasks for managing waste in tourism areas.

The tasks include preparing standard operating procedures (SOPs), implementing the SOPs, establishing a Waste Management Unit, and giving awards and sanctions to local governments, tourist attraction managers, and the public for adherence and violations, respectively, of SOPs for waste management in marine tourism destinations.

In this case, the action is planned to be realized through the provision of incentives and disincentives.

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Translator: Pamela Sakina, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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