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Bali becomes the first Indonesian island to ban single use plastic bags, straws, and polystyrene

The long promised plastic bag ban is now officially in effect as of June 23rd, 2019. After a six months adaptation period, the Bali government officially announced the ban on all single-use plastic bags, straws and polystyrene becoming the first province in Indonesia to do so.

This is a big victory for Bali’s environment and the future of the island of gods as Indonesian government declared back in December 2017, Bali as a state of emergency with its plastic pollution crisis. We would like to properly honour and celebrate all of whom have been a part of this massive movement to enforce this change. What started as a dream for two young sisters Melati and Isabel Wijsen, cofounders of Bye Bye Plastic Bags back 6 years ago, to our dedicated partners EcoBali Waste Management, to reclaimed local activists including Gede Robi and Jane Fischer, now has united the whole island to get behind them.

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The governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, implemented the law on December 21st, 2018, to give all business owners a 6 months grace period to find new alternatives for their plastic bags, straws and polystyrenes (styrofoam).

We first saw an initial ban taking place in Bali’s capital city of Denpasar on January 1st 2019, when the Mayor of Denpasar, Rai Mantra, announced an initial ban on single use plastic bags for all modern retailer. With Bye Bye Plastic Bags founder Melati Wijsen we celebrated this new wave of change.

In their latest newsletter Bye Bye Plastic Bags explain the implementation process: “ The 23rd of June 2019 marks a big day in history for all of us activists, environmentalists and longtime supporters of the plastic free movement. Get this, the government even has a special task team in charge of the implementation of the Pergub No. 97/2018. The vision is to involve the local level authorities and village laws (Perdes), traditional and adat laws (i.e Perarem), which are able to support effective implementation on a local level. And plus, there will be another 6 months of hardcore education and socialisations with communities and businesses across the island.”

But what does the ban mean for the island of gods exactly? Although the ban is officially in effect, the government is in a period of adaptation. The Pergub Bali No. 97 2018 (the ban), which should be fully in action in a 6 months period is radical and will prohibit retailers, consumers and distributors on all level of trade to use single use plastic bags, straws and polystyrene. This means from the modern retailers to traditional markets, warungs, to the city and village level, these single use plastics will not be anymore in use.

The Bali Governor is hoping that the ban will help maintain the harmony and balance to Bali’s ecosystem. He has expressed that strict sanctions will be put forward to businesses who fail to react.

Video: On January 1st 2019, the capital city of Bali, Denpasar banned single-use plastic bags.



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