Meet the Two Teenagers Who Convinced Bali to Ban Plastic Bags by 2018

By: | January 4th, 2017

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The mere mention of ‘Bali’ evokes thoughts of a tropical paradise… awesome beaches, surfing, diving, and a lot more.

However the trash – particularly plastic bags – are spoiling the beauty of the place. Considering this serious issue, two teenage sisters, Melati and Isabel Wijsen, have decided to fight this problem.

Isabel said, “In Bali, we generate 680 cubic meters of plastic garbage a day. That’s about a 14-story building. And when it comes to plastic bags, less than 5 percent get recycled.”

Their efforts paid off when they convinced the government to ban plastic bags by the year 2018.

How did they do it?

These two high school sisters have started a campaign “Bye Bye Plastic Bags” to gather other kids and adults with the goal to free Bali from this plastic bag problem. The girls have also put in a lot of efforts and organized beach clean-ups, put on a fashion show, given a TED talk, gone on a hunger strike, and met with the UN Secretary-General.

The Bye Bye Plastic Bags campaign is doing very well. The sisters have spoken to more than 5,000 students around the world. They are making others aware of this issue and also telling them about how they can have a real impact on policy-making.

Isabel said, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re too young or you won’t understand. We’re not telling you it’s going to be easy. We’re telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. You can also find Nidhi on Google+.

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