Indonesia is urging Muslims to use eco-friendly packaging when distributing sacrificial meat on Eid Al-Adha this year, as the country fights to reduce the amount of plastic waste it produces.
Indonesia is second only to China when it comes to dumping plastic waste in the ocean and, with a Muslim-majority population, the use of plastic bags to package sacrificial meat could lead to tens of thousands of tons of additional waste. Indonesia is estimated to produce an estimated 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day, many of which end up in the ocean.
The slaughter of an animal — qurbani — is carried out in remembrance of the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at Allah’s command.
Regional leaders across Indonesia were last month urged by the government to tell people to bring their own reusable containers instead of single-use plastic bags for the sacrificial meat.
“Alternatively, they can replace plastic bags with wrappings from banana or teak leaves, woven bamboo baskets, or other biodegradable or reusable packaging,” an official from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Rosa Vivien Ratnawati, said in a circular.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said the use of woven bamboo baskets would help to reduce plastic waste and generate additional income for local tradesmen, while Central Jakarta Mayor Bayu Meghantara said his office would distribute 500 woven bamboo baskets to qurbani committees.
Abu Hurairah Abdul Salam, a spokesman for Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta, said the qurbani committee had started using plastic bags made of cassava pulp four years ago.
“But, in accordance with the governor’s instructions, we will be using woven bamboo baskets to distribute qurbani meat this year. We have prepared 5,000 baskets and, if we run out of baskets, we will be using biodegradable cassava plastic bags,” he said.
The mosque slaughtered 30 cows and 20 goats this year.
North Jakarta’s Ancol Dreamland Park will hand out sacrificial meat to the first 100 recipients in woven bamboo baskets, or besek.
“We will wrap the rest of the qurbani meat packages, which on average are up to 5,000, in biodegradable, cassava-based bags. This is one of the many policies that park management has issued to address the waste problem. We have stopped using plastic straws at all vendor stalls,” Ancol spokeswoman Rika Lestari said.
The Indonesian Council of Ulema is backing the nationwide green initiative.
“We can take this Eid moment to start a new habit by using eco-friendly bags and to change our society’s dependence on plastic bags,” council’s fatwa committee official Hasanuddin Abdul Fattah said in a statement.
Read the original story in Arab News