ByeBye Plastic Bags – Bali’s last Chance? | Bali – the so-called Island of Gods – has long lost its magic. With a steady 10%+ increase of tourist arrivals over the last 30 years (4.6 million in 2016) it would have been necessary to back up this growing influx with an infrastructure that keeps side effects of this game under control. Example: plastic pollution.
Bali’s famous rice paddies are not able to compete with simply stunning rice fields in China and other parts of South East Asia. The same can be said about Bali’s beaches. The south of the island is hopelessly overrun by tourists (Kuta, Seminyak, Legian). ‘Finding yourself in Bali’ is not so easy anymore, because you are not alone – nowhere on Bali. You will not find tranquility but plastic bags: on beaches, in the mangroves, in streets, in rice fields, flying in the air, hanging in the trees … everywhere.
For decades the employees in Bali’s local Government did ignore the problem. Instead two children took over. Since 2012, Melati and Isabel Wijsen have been on a mission to stop plastic bags from suffocating their island home of Bali. By then the sisters were just aged 10 and 12! Efforts so far – petitions, beach cleanups, hunger strike — paid off when they convinced Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika to commit to a plastic bag-free Bali by 2018. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re too young or you won’t understand,” Isabel says to other aspiring activists. “We’re not telling you it’s going to be easy. We’re telling you it’s going to be worth it.” ByeBye Plastic Bags became an impressive children’s movement that aims to eradicate all plastic bags from the Island of Bali.
It’s a dream that has sustained the sisters – who founded the campaign Bye Bye Plastic Bags – for four years now. Their remarkable journey has taken them to London, where they were invited to give a TED talk in September 2016.
Not sure if Bali will ever make it back up in the charts for tourists with higher demands. Melati and Isabel Wisjen’s project ByeBye Plastic Bags might be Bali’s last chance.
Another spectacular example of two courageous individuals winning over an apathic civic body is the case of Versova Beach in Mumbai. Good read -> https://i-d-online.com/versova-beach-mumbai/