On June 23rd 2019, history was finally made with the announcement that the ban on single-use plastic is officially in effect. Hooray!
Think of Bali and no doubt picture-perfect visions of white sand beaches, hidden waterfalls and breathtaking landscapes spring to mind – and rightly so. But let’s be real here – for decades now, Bali has been fighting an ever-growing environmental crisis that’s littering our paradise island. We’re talking about plastic.
Ever since plastic was introduced to Bali without the right education and proper recycling facilities, plastic has been finding its way onto our beaches, into our waterways and even into our food. But that’s about to change. On December 21st 2018, Bali Governor, Wayan Koster, announced a ban on single-use plastic by June 2019, with a six month “warm up” period to give businesses time to react. Well, six months has passed, and yesterday, on June 23rd 2019, the bill was officially instated, meaning dreaded styrofoam, plastic bags and plastic straws are now officially prohibited island-wide.
Following the ban, the Governor hopes to reduce Bali’s plastic marine pollution by a whopping 70%. The initiative came after a wave of global media attention and disappointed beachgoers, including the viral photo from @thelifeofjord on Instagram (pictured below).
Bali’s plastic past
In the past five years, Bali’s very own activists at Bye Bye Plastic Bags have been fighting for this plastic-free future. The wave-making founders, Isabel and Melati (two sisters who initiated the youth-driven movement when they were just 13 and 15 years-old) have campaigned relentlessly against the production of plastic bags on Bali. Finally, it seems their pleas are coming to fruition. Below is the statement the girls released on June 23rd 2019:
“The 23rd of June 2019 marks a big day in history for all of us activists, environmentalists and longtime supporters of the plastic free movement. It is a day to celebrate! As we welcome the long awaited ban on single use plastic bags, straws and polystyrene on our island home, Bali. The island wide governor regulation “pergub #97 2018” that’s been passed on December 21st, 2018 has since been “warming up” the island to the final ban. Supermarkets and restaurants in Bali have already started preparing by changing back to more traditional ways of packaging, has anyone seen the banana leaf wraps? They are the BEST.
However the 23rd of June 2019 marks the official date that the ban goes into effect! Get this, the government even has a special task team in charge of the implementation of the Pergub No. 97/2018.
What’s the implementation process looking like? Well, good news is that the vision is to involve the local level authorities and village laws (Perdes), traditional and adat laws (i.e Perarem), which are able to support effective implementation on a local level. And plus, there will be another 6 months of hardcore education and socialisations with communities and businesses across the island.
Our team celebrated the launch of the ban by going to the governors office with cake and flowers to say a very big thank you and terima kasih!“
Yup, the girls at Bye Bye Plastic Bags are making serious waves, and they’ve even taken the island’s plastic problem to the international stage. The girls have spoken at a number of international Ted Talks, initiated meetings with government leaders, held over 231 presentations globally to-date (including United Nations conferences in New York), and have expanded to 25 teams worldwide. They have also distributed more than 16,800 alternative bags to local communities, and have been recognised on CNN, Al Jazeera and on Forbes’ Top 10 Most Inspiring Women list.
Yup, change is finally happening, and while there are plenty more steps to be taken to rid the island of this toxic polluter, Bali’s future has never looked so clean and green. Check out the video below from the 2018 campaign, and keep your eyes peeled for more updates on Bali’s plastic-free future.
HEY BALI! Are we actually going to be plastic bag free by 2018? Listen up! Here are the facts and commitments we’ve collected through 5 years of campaigning to ban plastic bags. From an online petition to a signed MOU with the governor, we’ve shared the goal of a plastic bag free Bali with the masses. We know the time for change has never been better. Let’s take it to the next level Bali. The world is watching!—————–Apakah kita akan benar-benar bebas dari kantong plastik di tahun 2018? Perhatikan! Inilah fakta dan komitmen yang telah kami kumpulkan selama 5 tahun berkampanye untuk melarang kantong plastik. Dari petisi online ke MOU yang telah ditandangani oleh Gubernur, kami telah membagikan tujuan dari bebas kantong plastik di Bali dengan masa. Kita tahu waktu untuk perubahan tidak pernah sebaik ini. Ayo bawa ke tingkat berikutnya, Bali. Dunia sedang menyaksikan!
Posted by Bye Bye Plastic Bags on Tuesday, 14 November 2017