Earlier this year, news broke that Bali would join a growing list of entities that have made the pledge to ban single-use plastics, including disposable plastics (think straws, shopping bags, water bottles, and packaging). Bali, an island in Indonesia, is known for its stunning beaches and pristine waters. Unfortunately, Bali has of late been plagued with massive quantities of plastic pollution. Plastic pollution presents a difficult problem for governments, because oftentimes the pollution can enter local waters from far away sources. That is part of Bali’s dilemma: their proximity within the Indonesian Throughflow, an ocean current connecting the Pacific Ocean to the straits of Indonesia that also can carry substantial amounts of plastic pollution.

Photo curtesy of Reuters/Johannes P. Cristo

In addition to Bali, these entities have also banned forms of single-use plastics:

  1. California and Hawaii have statewide bans on single-use plastic bags;
  2. Seattle, WA and Malibu, CA have bans on single-use plastic straws and utensils;
  3. Washington, D.C. has a single-use plastic straw ban, and Vancouver, Canada will become the first major Canadian city to ban single-use plastic straws this fall.

These examples are only naming several of the many U.S. states, and cities and countries all throughout the world that have taken significant steps to addressing the global problem of single-use plastic pollution.

Photo Curtesy of Rich Carey/Shutterstock

While Bali can place much of the blame for their plastic pollution problem on external sources, the fact remains that much of the pollution is coming from domestic sources. In responding to this serious issue and to reduce their impact as a community and people, Bali decided to take drastic measures: banning all single-use plastics by June, 2019. Plastic pollution poses a significant threat to all levels of marine life, which is why other countries must follow Bali’s lead in curbing this pervasive issue. If you want to make an effort to lessen your impacts on single-use plastic pollution, check out the National Resource Defense Council’s recommendations for how you can help!

For more on this issue and Bali’s decision, check out this article by Teton Gravity Research.