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Bye Bye Plastic Bags Bali

Mar 28 2014

Bye Bye Plastic Bag Sisters represent future of our world

Imagine walking around the island of Bali and seeing pristine beaches, clean waterways and roads lined with trees and plants rather than piles of rubbish and debris. Well Melati and Isabel Wijsen have. And then, they put their imaginings into action.

Sisters, Melati and Isabel Wijsen, are the two Green School students in Grades 6 an 7, who came up with the idea of Bye Bye Plastic Bags and went onto start the biggest “Children Driven Action” campaign the island, if not the country, has ever seen.

They now have a team of over 25 children working with them from schools all over the region and have a petition running to ban the use, sale and production of plastic bags in Bali by January 2015.

They need a million signatures on the petition to get the Governor of Bali to fulfil his directive to ban plastic bags in Bali. Bye Bye Plastic Bags Petition The campaign only began last October and, after a strong start, they now have well over 50 000 signatures.

Melati says the idea for the campaign came about from a lesson she had at Green School, in which they were learning about significant people in the world and who they would most want to be like.

"We discussed how we would like to be known. For us, Lady Diana was our idol,” says Melati.

“If we are the future of Bali and the world, we have to start thinking about how we can become like our role models now."

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Green Campaigner and role model, Nadya Hutagalung, throws her support behind the campaign

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The King Of Tanah Lot gives BBPB The Royal Seal of Approval

The girls decided their focus should start with Bali as this “is where we were born and have our lives and we love it and enjoy it.”

"Everybody knows the problem of plastic bags in Bali." says Melati, "They are everywhere and a huge part of our daily lives. Everybody uses them for approximately 30 minutes only and then, unless recycled, they are thrown away to pollute our country."

Melati and Isabel are half dutch/half Indonesian and now, with some support from parents, lead a team of local and international children of all races from Indonesian schools.

The team has delegated specific responsibility to its members for different aspects of the campaign and meets every month.

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BBPB monthly board meeting

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The Team

Outside Indonesia, they have the support of ambassadors all over the world in places such as Australia, Canada, Holland, New Zealand, Italy and the United States.

This month, BBPB secured the support of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (DKP) to begin a pilot program in the Village of Pererenan. The environmental organization, Pererenan Gumi Listari (PGL), has already being doing clean-ups in the area and putting in place programs to re-introduce shrimp (long died out) into local rivers.

Last week, with permission of the DKP, Bye Bye Pastic Bags took the campaign to 300 local children of Pererenan at their schools. The aim was to raise awareness and introduce a new program to remove and replace plastic bags from the shops in the area. The next step is alternative shopping bags to be manufactured and distributed throughout the village.

The team was thrilled to get the support of Surfer Girl at the event.

“The hope is: if it works in Pererenan, other banjars in Badung will be next,” says Isabel.

Next, came a flashmob at Tanah Lot, at which the King welcomed the team to his famous temple. The children caught the attention of Bali TV and spent the afternoon gathering more signatures.

Melati and Isabel at Tanah Lot raising awareness on Bali TV

BBPB Flashmob at Tanah Lot

BBPB team speak out

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Flashmob in Action

The Bali Spirit Festival followed but the highlight of the month came when the girls shared a meal with India Arie on the Green School Bridge.

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India Arie embraces BBPB

The team is now busy planning their BBPB Festival in June. Bali’s hottest young surfer and BBPB team member, Sonny Allen, has already attracted the attention of Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning. Sunny Sunny Sonny

Let's help the team make it to that 1000 000 signatures by sharing the link with everyone we know. Let's take responsibility for the world's pollution problem.Bye Bye Plastic Bags Facebook

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The team meets the King of Tanah Lot

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