12 May 2016

Meet the sisters changing Bali

From Nine To Noon, 10:08 am on 12 May 2016

Teenage sisters Melati and Isabel Wijsen are on a mission to ban plastic bags on Bali - and they're succeeding.

Melati and Isabel Wijsen

Melati and Isabel Wijsen Photo: supplied

Distressed by seeing discarded shopping bags on Bali’s beaches, in the sea, and even in rice paddies, two sisters decided to do something about it.

Aged 10 and 12 at the time, Melati and Isabel Wijsen decided to started Bye Bye Plastic Bags. They got a team together, started petitions and beach cleanups, and decided they needed to get the attention of the Governor of Bali.

The trouble was, despite writing to him almost every day, he wouldn't respond. Undeterred, Melati and Isabel went on a hunger strike, and within days they had their meeting. What's more, the governor committed to a plastic-bag free Bali by 2018.


The girls recently gave a TED talk and are getting attention from around the world, with other environmental groups wanting to follow their lead.