April 23, 2009

Green Is The New Black On Earth Day in Jakarta

More than 50 supporters of the environmental organization World Wildlife Fund (WWF), gathered at a South Jakarta mall Wednesday to fold old newspapers into paper bags.

Celebrating Earth Day, which fell on Wednesday, WWF-Indo-nesia invited people to Caf* Walk at Plaza Semanggi to make paper bags out of old newspapers to distribute, for free, to supermarkets and stores.

WWF-Indonesia marketing and fundraising manager Maitra Widiantini said the initiative, dubbed “Renews”, was aimed at reducing the use of plastic bags and re-using old newspapers.

Studies show that plastic bags take up to 1,000 years to biode-grade and are harmful to the environment.

Erna Esti Utami, manager of the grocery store Farmers Market, participated in the event, folding old The Jakarta Post papers and inserting rattan ropes as handles.

Erna said the paper bags would help her store educate custo-mers about the need to use fewer plastic bags. She said that Farmers Market staff working in Kelapa Gading Mall in North Jakarta and Serpong Mall in Tangerang sometimes face problems convincing customers to switch from plastic bags.

Farmers Market holds plastic-free days every second Tuesday of the month. “On that day, we do not provide plastic bags for customers and give them a reusable bag for them to bring every time they return to the store,” Erna said.

“However, some people still do not accept the program and complain about not getting plastic bags. Maybe with these paper bags people can have an alternative,” She added.

Part-time student and worker Tian Nirwana took time to join in the event. She said that she found out about the event from www.supporterwwf.org and added that being a WWF supporter for almost a year had gradually changed her lifestyle.

“I try to be more environmentally friendly, like not taking plastic bags from stores, recycling and minding my use of electricity,” she said. WWF-Indonesia has around 20,000 supporters.

WWF’s event was just one event held by environmental groups in Jakarta to mark Earth Day. On Saturday, Green groups held a rally with art performances and a parade of antique bicycles along Jakarta’s thoroughfares.

Environmental radio station Greenradio 89.2 FM, in collaboration with electronics producer Sharp, planted trees Wednesday at Pangrango Mountain in West Java as part of their “Adopt a Tree” program, in which Jakartans donate Rp 108,000 (US$10) to plant a tree on the deforested Pangrango Mountain. Since the start of the program in February 2008, 6,000 trees have been planted.

On April 26, the Jakarta Green Map community, in collaboration with Greenradio 89.2 FM, Bike to Work, Transjakarta and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), will lead a tour of green areas in Jakarta reachable by Transjakarta buses.

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Green Is The New Black On Earth Day


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