Is the fight against plastic pollution a mission impossible? One 10- and one 12 year old teach us a huge lesson with their “Bye Bye Plastic Bags” initiative

Travelling to Bali? Well, get ready to pick up some trash! Melati and Isabel Wijsen together with their teenager’s clique are going to show you how iGeneration positively takes over the world. 

Age or experience never bothered Melati at that time only 12 years old, and Isabel 10 years old, when they founded in 2013 the “Bye Bye Plastic Bags” social initiative. With the goal to clean up Bali from plastic bags, they have been teaching indigenous people how to live without the need of using them. The action is led by children from international and local schools of the island.

The two sisters were born and raised in Bali, one of the most beautiful yet touristic destinations of the world. The island attracted 4,2 million visitors in 2016. But Indonesia is the second biggest plastic polluter after China, accounting for 10% of the plastic marine litter dumped in the oceans. Fed up with seeing their paradise contaminated by waste, one day, after an especially inspiring lesson at school, they decided it was time to act.



Now, I think every one of us should stop and think about how great these kids are. Honestly at their age I was probably still playing with barbies (made out of plastic…). There was no need for a business plan nor for a special knowledge to put this organisation on feet. Just goodwill, persistence and children’s naiveness.

Our two young activists have today, by the end of 2017, almost reached their goal. They also spread into other missions: educating people with a booklet about waste management in Bahasa Indonesia, creating a campaign highlighting shops, restaurants or hotels that became plastic bags free with a sticker, getting the support of locals and eventually becoming global.

So what did we learn from the lesson? THAT THERE IS NO AGE TO TAKE ACTION!

With The Universal Sea – Pure or Plastic?! we promote such initiatives because we believe in an international support aiming at the same purpose: stopping plastic dumping. Let’s join forces and compete against the real bad guy: Pollution! Together we can rethink our production and consumption systems!

“Bye Bye Plastic Bags” is the proof that change at any age, place and time is possible! It’s your choice, your action. Join our movement and start sharing your solutions!