Bali island, which is famous for its natural beauty and cultural traditions, has now begun to face a major environmental issue. While in 2018 Bali Government declared the ban of single-use plastic, it was not enough to stop the plastic pollution issue. The plastic ban regulation is proving to be a major milestone, but it is only the beginning of eradicating plastic pollution from Bali. In fact just one year after in 2019, TPA Suwung, Bali's largest landfill which houses waste generated from the tourism industry in Badung Regency, was set on fire for days. With this situation, in 2022, the government will slowly close the Suwung landfills and encourage the community to start reducing waste and ban the single-use of plastic.
Looking back to the plastic ban back in 2018, one of the major voices in various environmental movements in Bali, Melati Wisjen who was at the time 17 years old. Melati is the founder of Bye-bye Plastic Bag movement and most recently Youthtopia, an online platform where young change-makers from all over the world gather and exchange knowledge with each other. As a young activist, Melati expressed her mission to protect the environment and fight against the use of plastic bags in Indonesia since 2013 with her first environment movement, "bye-bye plastic bag". Each year Melati and her team at One Island One Voice held their annual environmental action to campaign against plastic pollution called the Bali Biggest Cleanup. But why has plastic pollution became such a major environmental issue?
Plastic is one of the most significant sources of environmental pollution in 2022, according to Earth.org. On average, 91% of plastic produced by companies is not recycled, polluting the environment. Compounds in plastic products are generally not derived from natural ingredients, so they are non-biodegradable. The discovery of this material started in 1907 by Leo Baekeland with the primary goal as a synthetic alternative to waterproof containers. As a result of these advantages, plastic is then produced on the market and has begun to be widely used and applied in various products such as water bottles, containers and plastic bags. However, the resistance of synthetic materials possessed by plastic can pollute the environment. It takes at least 100-500 years for plastic to be completely decomposed, which makes it end up in a landfill or in the ocean.
Various negative impacts caused by plastic pollution include; decreasing soil fertility quality, reducing water absorption by the soil, silting rivers, clogging water, killing natural biota, contaminating water, and being toxic to the human food chain. For this reason, it is crucial for us to show our concern for the environment. Indirectly, all human activities are very influential on plastic pollution. For example, the selection of plastic products used in daily activities which followed by the inability to manage its waste. As part of a preventive strategy, being selective about various products that do not contain plastic (plastic-free products) can already reduce plastic production and its impact on the environment. However, being selective does not merely solve plastic pollution; our environment requires real action in tackling environmental problems.
Apart from bye-bye plastic, one of the campaigns initiated by Melati is One island one voice, which is social organization with an environmental campaign intended as a forum and mobilizer for the community to increase environmental awareness. This campaign was created to celebrate National Waste Care Day (Hari Peduli Sampah Nasional) in Indonesia. The hashtags #OneIslandOneVoice or #SatuPulauSatuSuara are able to attract people's attention to participate in sharing the information, making donations or volunteering events directly in the program. This campaign even resulted in "THE COMMITMENT" in 2018 as a people-powered movement to encourage businesses operating in Bali to say NO to single-use plastic. Other than that, one yearly program that is regularly held is Bali's Biggest Clean Up. This program has succeeded in mobilizing 70,000 people in 560 locations in Bali to tackle 230 tons of inorganic waste that can pollute the environment. But the question began to arise, why Bali? What's really special about Bali?
A few decades ago, most people in Bali still used various natural materials such as banana leaves for wrapping their food, coconut shells as drinking containers, and woven coconut as a substitute for bags that are very environmentally friendly. However, since the introduction of plastic as an alternative source, people have begun to change their lifestyles. On the other hand, Bali is also one of the tourism centre in Indonesia. There are at least 240 tons of trash produced every day on the island of Bali, and 25% of it comes from the tourism industry. A lot of this garbage ends up on beaches and oceans. Joe (2021) adds that on a daily basis, the famous beaches in Bali, such as Kuta beach, are at least being buried by 60 tons of plastic waste. The Bali Provincial Government has made efforts to encourage programs to reduce the use of plastic and plastic waste recycling programs. However, in reality, the implementation of these policies is still less effective. In Bali, the piles of garbage in the final dump located in Suwung are not appropriately managed and causing air pollution. This condition has prompted the emergence of various organizations engaged in the environment in Bali, such as Bye Bye Plastic Bags, Eco Bali Recycling and Sungai Watch, which show their action to protect and preserve the environment.
This year, Bali's Biggest Clean-Up program was held on 20 February 2022. Through this program, various organizations and the public communities collaborate to show their actions in this environmental movement. This action was carried out in 7 regencies and cities in Bali with a total of 130 location points. As a social enterprise company committed to dealing with environmental issues, Terra Water Indonesia also contributed to Bali's Biggest Clean Up 2020. Together with approximately 3,000 other volunteers, Terra's team from all departments participated in collecting waste. Our team did the cleaning in Badung Regency. We gathered at Jiwa Community Garden with other volunteers and started our environmental movement at 8 AM. Accumulatively, this program managed to collect 11.7 tons of waste with a total of 88,904 pieces of non-organic trash (Bali's Biggest Clean-Up Report 2022) with the following details:
In addition to volunteering in collecting waste, Since 2021 Terra Water Indonesia also provides several water stations to support the event. There is one filter at each water station to refine the tap water available at the location into safe water for consumption. With the water station, all volunteers and the public community involved can enjoy the water in this event for free. The primary purpose of this water station is not only to provide free access to water, but we are committed to encouraging the community to reduce the use of water bottles and water gallons that are harmful to the environment.
Plastic waste not only comes from domestic (households), various organizations and companies (especially those engaged in tourism such as hotels, restaurants and cafes) should also be active in reducing industrial waste. And here is how Terra Water Filters are ready to help. In addition to saving the company's water expenditure, Terra Water filters also help companies reduce plastic waste from industrial activities. Companies' operations can be more sustainable while also contribute in protecting the environment. Our team is delighted to promote our product while contribute to Bali's Biggest Clean Up 2022. We are looking for the next environmental movement with One Island One Voice in the future events.