Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo. Photo: Youtube.
Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo. Photo: Youtube.

An archbishop in Indonesia has joined the chorus of influential voices calling for the rejection of single-use plastic bags to help tackle the country’s plastic waste problem.

Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo appealed to all Catholics in the country through a video message that was shown across all parishes from January 5 to 6, Crux Now reported.

Suharyo said that Catholics are concerned because Indonesia is already the second-largest producer of plastic waste in the world.

In June 2015, Pope Francis stressed the importance of environmental protection, which the archbishop reiterated as he invited people to follow the pope’s words.

Archbishop Suharyo also urged producers to stop including styrofoam in their food packaging.

Numbers from environmental groups indicate that Indonesia deals with around 64 million tons of plastic waste every year, with 3.2 million tons being tossed in the ocean. Almost 11% of the total plastic waste is produced in the nation’s capital Jakarta.

Authorities around the country have been trying different methods to curb the use of plastic and encourage recycling. In April 2018, Surabaya in East Java ran a scheme in which passengers were able to enjoy a free bus ride for every 18 plastic bottles or bags they collected.