Bali sisters say 'Bye Bye Plastic Bags'

"My name is Melati, I'm 19-year-old and my name is Isabel, I'm 17-year-old, we are sisters and founders of 'Bye Bye Plastic Bags'.''

They’ve given talks at the United Nations, participated in many international climate change events, and they’re now household names in Bali.

These are the sisters fighting for the climate one plastic bag at a time.

"I think what inspired us to really start our activism journey to start 'Bye Bye Plastic Bags' was really where we were raised. Here on the island of Bali it's beautiful. People called it the paradise island. And because of that we were constantly out in nature, in the rice fields, mountains, but sadly even at 10 and 12-year-old we could see that no matter where we went there was plastic constantly surrounding us. You know, it's not rocket science to see it as a problem. And it's not only a problem here in Bali, in Indonesia, it's a problem globally and so we thought you know 'what's someone going to do about this?' and I think sometimes you forget that you can actually be that someone."

Indonesia is the world’s second worst offender for polluting the world's oceans with plastic.

The Asian nation produces at least 37 pounds of plastic waste per capita every year, local media quoted 2019 data from Industrial Ministry.

Only around 10% of the vast amount of plastic waste can be recycled.

The rest ends up in landfills, scattered in public spaces, or along the coast.

Single use plastic was banned in Bali in June 2019.

But Melati and Isabel - who cite Nelson Mandela and Lady Diana as inspiration - have been pushing for policymakers to do more - and urgently.

"Banning single use plastic bags should not have taken six years. Implementing renewable energy, empowering people with the access to the solutions, those are the actions that we need to see on a mass scale. And again it comes back to respecting and living in harmony with the environment and change is happening in far too slowly. We need to see more leaders, more ambitious goals being made from people in positions of power. And I guess why that young people coming because we recognized that, we can feel that and that's why we come up on that panel discussions why we come up in these conference rooms demanding that these changes are bigger, that these goals are more ambitious. We need to see the bar set a lot higher and a lot sooner."

At the World Economic Forum earlier this year, Indonesia vowed to cut marine plastic debris by 70% within the next five years, and achieve a plastic pollution-free status by 2040.

"Never let anyone tell you that you too young to make a difference or you're too young to do anything, you've to wait until you grow up, get your degree, get your diploma and then you can maybe if you feel like it, make a different. You (Kids) have so much power in you and we are the living example that kids can do things. Kids can change the world. Cause we believed that us kids may only be 25% of the world populations, but we are 100% of the future."

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