Bali has announced its plan to ban single-use plastics such as plastic bags, styroafoam cutlery and straws, according to a report by the Jakarta Post published on 25 December 2018. Intended as a first step towards reducing marine plastics in Bali by 70 percent in 2019, the policy has a grace period of six months and officially took effect on 21 December 2018.
Bali governor, I Wayan Koster, had announced on 24 December that the policy is “aimed at producers, distributors, suppliers and business actors, including individuals, to suppress the use of single-use plastics”. After the grace period, all parties who have not substituted single-use plastics with other materials will be hit with administrative sanctions.
“If they disobey, we will take action, like not extending their business permit,” Koster added.
The push for a ban on single-use plastics was first promulgated locally by Balinese teen sisters, Melati and Isabel Wijsen, in 2013 with their Bye Bye Plastic Bags campaign to ban the use, sale and manufacture of single-use plastic bags. The duo’s petition to ban plastic bags resulted in 100,000 signatures being collected and gave them a platform to speak at the United Nations and even give a TED Talk. A hunger strike got the attention of the previous Bali governor, I Made Mangku Pastika, who signed a memorandum of understanding in July 2015, promising to work towards a single-use plastics ban by the end of 2018.
With the announcement of the single-use plastics ban in Bali, 17-year-old Melati and 15-year-old Isabel have successfully accomplished the first of their many goals in their quest to protect nature and Bali.
“We know saying no to plastic bags isn’t the final solution, but it’s definitely a step forward,” said Isabel.