19th September 2020 was World Clean-Up Day, a global movement around 180 countries to rid our planet of the waste and trash that is suffocating its wildlife and natural wonders. This year was the third year that the worldwide movement took action, with more than 11 million people from 165 countries contributing to the greening of our planet. The people in Indonesia did not hesitate to contribute. With the theme of “United for Clean Indonesia”, they took a step further from just sorting and cleaning the trash at home to uniting the country for a day of deep clean up.
To contribute to this meaningful day, Gili Eco Trust decided to take their part and headed to the Gili Trawangan island dump with 40+ volunteers with the mission to clear as many plastic bags and wrappers as possible in one hour. With September weather rolling in, the islands of Gili were dry, without much rain to carry waste from the landfills to the oceans. However, the strong September winds could easily blow light plastic bags and wrappers around, meaning they could end up anywhere from the middle of the Pacific to someone’s backyard. To prevent the horror of flying plastic bag creatures, the huge group of volunteers worked tirelessly through the blazing heat. In the end, they were able to transform the artificially-coloured plastic bag contaminated fields into a beautiful green landscape of towering coconut trees, collecting a total of 10,000 plastic bags in just one hour.
With the huge quantity of plastic bags that were collected, they were able to either recycle or sealed in refuse sacks to prevent any more of these bags to fly back to the dump. It is said that 60% of waste in the dumps can be recycled or repurposed. Regarding plastic wrappers and bags, Gili Eco Trust was able to send clear and opaque plastic bags to various facilities in Indonesia who accepted them for recycling. Unfortunately, with the unrecyclable coloured or printed plastic bags, they had to use the second alternative of tightly sealing these bags into refuse sacks/ blocks to keep the plastics from entering back into the environment.
The work Gili Eco Trust is committed to, even with the current Covid restrictions and obstacles, is truly respectable. However, we can still make their work, and the work of everyone else trying to clean the polluted environment, easier by cutting the supply of single-use products in our daily lives. Gili Eco Trust suggests that buying your own recyclable products (they have their own shop selling eco shopping totes and Tasini’s), buying plastic-free food/ ingredients, and picking up at least 3 pieces of the trash whenever you are at the beach are just a few examples of how we can also support their efforts and the environment.
Photos from the 2020 September 19th World Clean-Up Day
Gili Eco Trust Instagram
World Clean Up Day Instagram
Photo Credits: Gili Eco Trust Website, Instagram page