Text and photos © Anggara Mahendra

Replacing plastic with besek (as they are known in Indonesian) isn’t a big deal for some people. But not everybody has the idea, or is interested in giving up time and energy to actually make an effort that is both environmentally friendly and which supports the makers of bamboo besek.

Kristina Komala of TEMAN SAYUR (the instagram account of a supplier of fresh local vegetables) read about the implementation of the idea in Bandung through social media on the instagram account of @studio.dapur and @pahlawanbencana. She thought: “Why not do this in Bali?”

The time to carry out the idea for the Muslim Holy Day of Idul Adha, during which the tradition is cattle and goats are sacrificed and their flesh is given to the people, was pretty tight – but she made an effort to make it happen, and to be spark a new environmentally friendly way of thinking.

Above: picking up the baskets in Lukluk, Badung. Below: Kristina and a fully loaded van.


The Jami Mosque of Singaraja was chosen as the location. Historically it represents strong ties between Muslims and Hindu Balinese. According to kemenag.go.id , Masjid Jami was built in 1846 overseen by I Gusti Ngurah Ketut Jelantik Celagi, a brother of the King of Buleleng who had converted to Islam – he also wrote a copy of the Al-Quran which to this day is kept inside the mosque.

The idea was welcomed by Pak Harianto who headed the kurban (sacrifice) committee and also by members of the Buleleng Creative Hub. This small effort has at least reduced the use of at least 500 plastic bags. And it also has provided income for local bamboo craftsmen.

Above: the Masjid Jami in Singaraja. Below: Kristina and Tobing  in traditional Balinese adat attire, and Jaswan to Tobing’s right, join the committee in preparing the baskets.


Above: the baskets ready to contain the fresh meat from the sacrifice. Below: dividing up the parcels to be given out.

Slowly but surely it will have an impact on the way people think about environmentally friendly action by reducing the current massive use of single-use plastic.

Indonesia has a bad environmental track record. According to research done by Jenna Jambeck of the University of Georgia in 2015, Indonesia dumps 187.2 million tons ofplastic into the ocean every year, second only to China with 262.9 million tons a year.

Anggara Mahendra can be reached at anggaramahendra@gmail.com  and on instagram @anggaramahendra


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