Melati and Isabel fight to stop the use of plastic bags in Bali


Bali is producing 680 cubic meters of plastic garbage every day

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 28 April, 2016 – Last September, during TED Global London, Melati and Isabel moved their audience and received a standing ovation as they told the story of their ongoing quest to stop the use of plastic bags in Bali. Usually referred to as paradise, the island of the gods has fallen victim to its own beauty and is now facing ecological catastrophe.

Bali is producing 680 cubic meters of plastic garbage every day and is soon becoming, as the girls put it, a lost paradise. Not wanting to be bystanders to the destruction of their homes, the two young activists, inspired by a lesson of significant people, decided to start a movement they named “Bye Bye Plastic Bags”.

Our 5-day trip to Jakarta was so cool! We are incredibly grateful to have had this experience where we were able to gain national attention.

But even before we boarded the plane, we had two very important meetings! The first meeting was with Bapak Suarjana, the head of environments at the governments, where we got to present our Bye Bye Plastic Bags Educational Booklet as well as deliver the TED talk with Indonesian Subtitles for him and the government to spread and share through all local schools.

He tells us the next big date is June 5th where there will be an evaluation on the Paying for Plastic Policy to define what the collected money should be used for and to discuss an increase of the 200 coin to at least minimum of 2,000 rp !!!! Really grateful to be able to have these update meetings with Bapak Suarjana and his clear vision.

The second meeting before boarding actually took place at the airport! We had a really great in-depth meeting about the support and commitments Angkasa Pura airports has toward Bye Bye Plastic Bags. The outcome is that we have their 100% support and they are officially “Bye Bye Plastic Bags number one believers” as the General Manager likes to put it.

A great start to the exciting trip as we jumped on board our plane! BBPB had an amazing day of presentation for 1500 students at Jakarta Intercultural School. The response from the students was crazy, all of them very motivated and committed…wanting to start a Bye Bye Plastic Bags Jakarta. The Logo and agreement is sealed and we couldn’t be happier!

The ACG School was also good; we had the chance to reach another 500 students!! All very exciting! Noble Material was showcased on many different stages and like always, brought the magic to the message. Many people LOVED watching the performance, we want to thank Ibu Sarita for allowing us to use this within our presentations.

We had John Hardy come and support us and cheer us on as we had an experience of a lifetime! Bye Bye Plastic Bags LIVE on the Sarah Sechan TV Show, one of the most popular National shows in Indonesia…really amazing youths from INDONESIA reaching out after this publication!

A huge thank to GS Board Member Nadya Hutagalung for introducing us and for making this reality. Saturday and Sunday we explored Jakarta a little bit more. Saturday we spent the day at the JIS’s Family Fun Fair, where we were so kindly given a booth!

Inca had her face painted with the BBPB logo on it!! And yes, the time for homework came and we got down to it! BBPB MADE IT LIVE TO NATIONAL TV! And then, we went for the river walk that GS Board Member, Mr. Dennis was able to organize – THANK YOU – Even along the slum houses of Jakarta, we met some pretty cool people that do some pretty cool things.

We met Ibu Harianti who is a local woman that has her Bank Sampah supported by Gov. Ahok and was recently recognized by Metro TV. At the beginning of the walk, we saw three local men afloat on the side of the river picking up trash – yes! You guessed it Board members Billy and Leander jumped right in to help these guys out.

We learned that these men are nicknamed the “Golden Children” of Gov. Ahok. THIS IS SO COOL. The Local people are ready for change, so let us youth bring the change. Monday, our last day, went by in a flash. We started at the Dutch Embassy, where Mr. Rob Swartbol and team welcomed us to this special event just for BBPB.

We really enjoyed it…And we were able to recruit more schools to join Bye Bye Plastic Bags Jakarta! Then, we made it to the American Embassy, where we had a meeting with the US Ambassador, Mr. Robert Blake. Melati & Mr. Blake met several times previously at conferences, and the ambassador remains a big supporter of Bye Bye Plastic Bags.

He has shown much enthusiasm and believes very strongly in our initiative. Right after the meetings with both the Dutch Ambassador and US Ambassadors we headed to the airport! Fingers crossed we wouldn’t bump into Jakarta Traffic.

Our flight was delayed 2 hours!!! But that’s okay, because we walked through the airport still in our BBPB…and as we boarded the plane our flight attendants did a double take and said “WE’VE SEEN YOU ON NET TV!!” And so the Air Asia crew gifted us with some nice warm tea and wrote us the sweetest letter expressing their gratitude for what we do!

We’re back home, back to the team, and back to school! We’re sad to leave Jakarta and the beautiful house GS Board Member Theodore Bakker so kindly provided us with, but we are proud of the achievements and impressions we have left behind.