Find Out How These Two Sisters Convinced Bali to Ban Plastic Bags by 2018

Written by Cole Mellino and reposted with permission from EcoWatch

Many people probably think of Bali as a care-free, tropical oasis, but according to teen sisters Melati and Isabel Wijsen, Bali has a serious trash problem.

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

Worldwide, a trillion single-use plastic bags are used each year, nearly 2 million each minute. They’re most often used for a matter of minutes, before being discarded. Often, these bags are not properly disposed of and end up in the environment, polluting waterways and endangering wildlife. If they’re sent to landfills, they may take up to 1,000 years to decompose, and potentially leak pollutants into the soil and water.

In a TED Talk, the Wijsen sisters explain how something had to be done to protect their beautiful island home of Bali from plastic pollution. In 2013, they created the youth-driven initiative, Bye, Bye Plastic Bags, to ban plastic bags in Bali. Through petitions, beach cleanups and even a hunger strike, they convinced Governor 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 told the audience. “We’re not telling you it’s going to be easy. We’re telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

Watch Melati and Isabel’s TED Talk here:

Photo Credit: TED


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Patricia Harris
John Taylor2 years ago

Bless these young girls!

Marie W.
Marie W2 years ago

Been to Bali- trash everywhere except where hotels keep it clean. Overpopulated.

Chevalier Guy
Guy C2 years ago

Like Marija has written it : "RESPECT"....
With a good education, the young generation show us that it is possible to correct the unconsciousness of our acts which destroy little by little the Earth where, with many chance, we live. Hoping that this initiative will be followed per many others in the world and will also include the safeguarding of Nature and the animals....

Marija Mohoric
Marija M2 years ago


Veronica Danie
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Margie FOURIE2 years ago

You are never too young to change the world.

Kerry Fowler
BackSoon Fowler2 years ago

Amazing girls, keep up the good work.

H D.
Holly D2 years ago

Amazing girls! They have a great future ahead of them!

Nicola Foster
Nicola F2 years ago

Well done girls, keep it up.