Bali’s ecoWarriors in Action

Everyone can make a difference – all it needs is our action! We talked to some of the Island’s ecowarriors about their actions – including our very own Education Coordinator! – and what really drives them to create an environment that is completely independent from waste. 



Ni Made Dwi Septiantari

Age: 28

Occupation: Education Coordinator at ecoBali



The thing about waste…

… Is that we produce it. Other living beings produce waste that can degrade naturally, while our “waste”, plastic, is the complete opposite and becomes a pollution. Taking care of our environment is a form of our responsibility to ourselves and to the environment.

Tell us the worst waste experience you’ve gone through yourself?

Swimming in the ocean and being bombarded with plastic waste.

What’s Your Action?

When I’m right there on location, I will clean up the beaches. And in my capacity as Education Coordinator for ecoBali, it gives me great pleasure to be able to go to schools and impart green knowledge to children. I have a teacher’s degree, but it’s different being a teacher and an educator: as a teacher you’re limited by the curriculum and syllabus that you’re given, while being an educator in ecoBali I get to have more freedom and it’s definitely more in line with my passion so I’m really happy when I’m out there doing socialization in schools. I really believe that children can be agents of change and it’s really important to teach them to love the environment from an early age as possible.

What’s your biggest challenge?

Stopping the flow of plastics because it’ll keep coming from the rivers, or from the ocean itself. And not everyone wants to help clean it up—a lot of them are rather blasé about it, not seeing it as a problem at all.

What are the first things that you’ll advise people to be more responsible with waste

First of all, don’t litter. If we don’t find any trash bin, then bring it with you until you find one. At least we should just be responsible with our own waste first.

Starting from this August 17th, We should all be independent of…

Single-use plastic straw, because we find a lot of them on the beach.

What’s Next for you?

Personally, I will reduce my own use of single-use plastics—I already carry my own reusable shopping bag, as well as my own spoon and fork with me at all times. And professionally, I would love to get more opportunities to help or collaborate with local communities to form a waste bank as a way to reduce waste on the island.



Hendra Arimbawa          

Age: 29

Occupation: co-founder of Trashstock Festival



The thing about waste…

… Is that it’s a crucial problem on the planet and if we don’t do something about it then it might cause a serious natural disaster, moreover Indonesia is the second country that contributes the biggest plastic waste to the ocean.

Tell us the worst waste experience you’ve gone through yourself?

From many years ago, we have a tradition where teachers would tell children to bring cleaning tools to clean up the schools. However, outside of schools, teachers don’t extend that habit to their students.

What’s Your Action?

I created Trashstock Festival. To educate the youths to change their way of thinking in a cool and entertaining way.

What’s the biggest challenge in implementing your solution?

The absence of representatives from the government to do a control-check and to collaborate with local communities.

What are the first things that you’ll advise to people to be more responsible with waste?

To tell them not to throw their waste anywhere first.

Starting from August 17th, We should all be independent of…

The ignorance in protecting our beautiful nature.

What’s Next for you?

To form local groups that cares about environmental issues and synergize within one movement to educate the young generation in Bali.


Putu Evie

Age: 36

Occupation: Dance director & Coordinator of Trash Hero Kertalangu




The thing about waste…

… Is that we should care and realize that for so long we haven’t been responsible in managing what we use and consume daily and more often we just throw it away instead of utilizing it and in effect we create this problem to the environment and for the sustainability of earth.

Tell us the worst experience you’ve gone through yourself…

When I was doing clean-ups in Kedonganan, almost every inch of the coastline was filled with plastic waste and never in my life have I seen how thick the waste was, not to mention some of them deteriorated into microplastic. Then, in front of our eyes, when us volunteers were cleaning the waste, someone just threw away trash which added to the already mounting waste on the beach.

What’s your action?

Other than changing my own consuming habit and managing my waste in my house, we formed a movement to raise people’s and the government’s awareness consistently so that change can happen to finally stop problems in the environment, which has reached emergency level.

What’s the biggest challenge?

The challenge is to encourage people to change their habit and commit to it. Because there is a difference in awareness, knowledge, and concern in each individual, we really need to be patient.

What are the first things that you’ll advise to people to be more responsible with waste?

To change their habit and embrace a healthier and eco-friendly lifestyle, also to practice zero waste as well as refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Starting this August 17th, We should all be independent of…

Single-use plastic (plastic bags, cups, straws, and Styrofoam) in our daily lives. Apart being unhealthy, single-use packaging is bad for the sustainability of the earth if we don’t manage it properly.

What’s Next for you?

I will always try to be an example and give education to raise the awareness and concern about the dangers of unmanaged waste, and to gain people’s trust so that we can work together more to overcome the problem for the purpose of making a better change for our earth.


I Wayan Jeki Pratama

Age: 21

Occupation: Student & Founder of Serangan Bebas Plastik




The thing about waste…

… It has become a global problem both on land and on the ocean, and it can have an impact on our health and cause trouble for both man and nature.

Tell us the worst waste experience you’ve gone through yourself?

During the wet season, waste has always been a problem in my village (in Serangan) and causes the beach around my café filled with waste that was carried from the river and eventually it’ll produce a bad smell.

What’s your action?

I formed a team that shares the same concern for the environment which we called Serangan Bebas Plastik (Plastic Free Serangan), we invite residents and schoolchildren to help clean places polluted by plastic, and we encourage people to realize how important it is to not throw away plastic waste anywhere and to reduce it as well.

Biggest challenge in implementing your solution?

Convincing the people and persuading the local government to provide us with proper facility like waste bin and implementing recycling center.

First things you’ll advise to people to be more responsible with waste?

Don’t litter because that’s bad for the environment. Better to keep it and throw it once you find a waste bin, but they also need to be aware of the type of waste they’re carrying.

What’s next for you?

My plan is to fully commit to reduce the use of plastic, starting from myself and from home. I’m also going to keep trying to change people’s habit so that the island of Serangan can be completely free from plastic waste.


Melati Wijsen

Age: 17

Occupation: Full Time Activist & Changemaker

Gary Bencheghib

Age: 23 years old

Occupation: Filmmaker / Environmental activist



The thing about Waste….

MW: … that annoys me is it’s stinky, it doesn’t look nice, it’s bad for the environment and for our own health—and it’s gonna be around forever if we don’t do something NOW.

GB: … Is that all plastics ever created are still out there somewhere. It just doesn’t go away. I have traveled the world and always so shocked to see plastic wash up on the remotest beaches. It’s getting to the point that year by year, when I revisit isolated places- more and more is there. We cannot look away from it and time to act has never been more important than right now!

Tell us the worst waste experience you’ve gone through yourself…

MW: Growing up in Bali there are so many moments I can choose from – from spending weekends on the beach with friends, tanning next to a pile of trash or swimming in the ocean and feeling the plastic slithers around your feet or get caught in your arms. My worst waste experience is stepping in/on a diaper on the beach, and setting foot on illegal dumpsites because it breaks my heart to see plastic in places where it most definitely should not be.

GB: A year ago during our expedition on the Citarum river—known as one of the world’s most polluted rivers—we witnessed mountains of trash dumped on both sides of the riverbanks, open fires almost every 300 meters. At one point, we got stuck in a plastic berg. With every stroke of our paddles, plastic bags would get entangled. You would see toxic fume; the water literally was a black mayonnaise of toxicity. But the worst experience was when I saw a turtle suffocating underneath the trash trying to make its way up. Being so overwhelmed by the conditions of the river, I felt absolutely helpless. I couldn’t help but think how far we’ve come in the destruction of our planet.

What’s Your Action?

MW: For the last five years, we have led a youth driven organization called Bye Bye Plastic Bags and One Island One Voice. We aim to get the people of Bali to say no to single use plastic bags and we do this through various ways: Education, Pilot Village, Dealing with Government, and Going Global.

Our latest action was the One Island One Voice “Komitmen”, an initiative that was launched to eliminate unnecessary plastics from our daily lives and business operations. Through the Komitmen initiative, we invite organizations, companies and government offices in Bali to eliminate the use of the five most pervasive plastics in our environment—plastic straws, water bottles, retail bags, plastic cups, and cup lids—and to promote waste separation at the source in order to promote better recycling and waste management.

GB: I founded Make A Change World to show that anyone can make a difference. We are a digital media outlet and environmental organization who go on expeditions around the world to promote solutions and innovations to make the world a more sustainable place. Change starts with us and we each have the ability from our fingertips to have our voices heard.

What’s the biggest challenge in implementing your solution?

MW: The barriers put in place by the government. There is willingness and an intention to move forward but the implementation part is still, unfortunately, lacking. We need to see real steps and measurements being taken from the top down, from our local, regional, and national government. 

GB: By 2050, there will be more plastics than fish in our ocean. Every day I wake up with that timeline in my head—it dictates what I do for the day and how I plan my projects. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the scale of the problem and can be challenging to stay focused on precise projects.

What are the first things you’ll advise to people to be more responsible with waste?

MW: Educate yourself about where YOUR own trash is going. Do you know where your “away” is? Make sure it isn’t the ocean, the beach, the rivers or any other ecosystem that it shouldn’t be in. AND start asking yourself the question, “ Do I really need this piece of plastic? Do I really need this straw, this plastic bag, this plastic bottle…”

GB: Look at the trash you produce yourself for a week. Analyze it and see what you can do to minimize it. You’ll see that most of the single-use plastic will probably not be recyclable and can be avoided. Start by banning one piece of trash in your daily life and then go to another and another.

Starting from this August 17th, We should all be independent of…

MW: single use plastic bags, and then start to phase out other single use plastics. I believe change can start with us.

GB: One single-use plastic in our lives. It’s the perfect opportunity to show our care and love to this beautiful and amazing country that is Indonesia, the biggest island-nation in the world. It is truly our responsibilities to protect it for the generations to come.

What’s Next for you?

MW: Many exciting things are always happening for the movement and for me as an individual as well. BBPB is continuing with their mission, additional to that we aim to spread our educational booklets for elementary students all around Indonesia. As well as expanding globally (we are now in 21 locations around the world) our movement has become a platform for youth who wants to have their voices heard.

One Island One Voice has a GOAL of 1000 Komitmens by the end of this year. I’ll be filming four exciting documentaries in this next year!

GB: Currently planning my next project: another circumnavigation, but this time by foot. Planning to run the entire coast of Bali to study river by river, stream by stream, to track down where the biggest sources of pollution come from on the island. Stay tuned through IG at @makeachangeworld or #KelilingBALI, a project which I collaborated with Melati before. 





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