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Conservation Spotlight: One Island One Voice

The enterprising kids who created the conservation organization Bye Bye Plastic Bags’ on Bali are at it again with One Island One Voice.

You may remember our previous article about Bye Bye Plastic Bags, an organization founded by teenagers in Bali that grew to several countries. It has been a driving force when it comes to passing regulations banning plastic bags in Bali. Not short of ideas, these kids have also created One Island One Voice, an annual clean up in Bali that has grown to the biggest ever on the island. 

What does One Island One Voice do?

Five years ago, the founders of Bye Bye Plastic Bags created One Island One Voice with the aim of running a massive Bali clean up once a year to not only collect trash but also to raise awareness of the problem. The idea was to use a network of local organizations already active in this field, such as Trash Hero, Eco Bali, and Making Oceans Plastic Free to lead and coordinate the clean ups in their local communities on the same day, once a year. Local businesses also participate by coordinating clean ups in their area or providing logistical and material support.

With big numbers comes bigger awareness about the waste management in Bali and in general. Groups also collect data during the clean-ups in order to study what type of trash has the bigger impact on the local environment year-on-year.

The 2020 clean up

The 2020 clean-up saw over 12,000 participants all over the island and beyond that, together, collected more than 20 tons of trash. Another clearly stated mission was to analyze a sample bag of trash at numerous locations in order to discern the type of trash that was picked up.

The top three items collected were: plastic food packaging, cigarette butts and plastic bottles/cups. Food wrappers made up 20 percent; cigarette butts made up 17 percent; and plastic bottles and cups were 16 percent of trash collected. Straws alone were a further 11 percent of the refuse the groups collected. This data allowed organizers to compare changes across years; for example, the volume of plastic bags decreased overall from 15 percent of the total to 9 percent in 2020.

With each year that passes, the One Island One Voice clean-up is getting bigger and bigger, sending Bali communities an important message about waste reduction and management.