CNN’s annual Heroes of Courage receives new passport to create positive change

Victoria Cheng, a single mother of two, started her journey to reverse pollution by organizing an effort to collect almost 500 tons of plastic from Bali and sending it to China for recycling. After…

CNN’s annual Heroes of Courage receives new passport to create positive change

Victoria Cheng, a single mother of two, started her journey to reverse pollution by organizing an effort to collect almost 500 tons of plastic from Bali and sending it to China for recycling. After CNN Hero winner Regina King acknowledged Cheng’s work, people all over the world wanted to help her – and her effort grew exponentially. Learn more.

As Victoria Cheng, an environmental activist with her own eponymous business in Bali, Indonesia, held a rally in a stadium in Banjar Gua, Western Bali, on March 2, 2019, an enormous crowd gathered. Local fishermen applauded as a dozen or so representatives from Chinese recycling companies joined her on stage. After speaking for only a few minutes, Cheng allowed the crowd to carry out a symbolic gathering of their own as they carried in trash containers that measured 20 meters high and 20 meters long. The task was to collect 3,500 tons of plastic from the address.

In two months, the event was completed. Disbelief washed over the crowd. The plastic was collected in thousands of containers by over 2,500 individuals. Cheng explained how many people around the world had sent her personal messages of support after CNN’s “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” broadcast during which she was named a 2019 CNN Hero.

The ceremony marked a culmination of nearly three years of work by Cheng, the founder of One World Waves, to collect plastic for recycling. The event coincided with the invitation by her CEO, Jason Li, for a forum on plastic pollution in which she spoke for the first time. Global leaders have come together in Bali to discuss the issue.

Cheng’s company collects plastic and recycles it into T-shirts and other products that are sold in a catalog in eight countries. A part of her company also operates a factory where they make high-performance and specialized plastic products. In fact, nearly half of what her company generates is exported to companies in China for recycling.

Cheng is engaged in a global movement to reverse the spread of plastic pollution to islands across the world. She estimated that 30% of plastic collected by her company goes to China to be turned into high-end plastics and recycled into quality plastic goods.

People worldwide collected the plastic for recycling from March 2 to 6, 2019. Cheng’s goal was to collect 3,500 tons from 10 of Bali’s islands, but she exceeded it in less than two months.

She encouraged her supporters to make the effort because the real response to the global plastic crisis is never seen, and her case serves as proof. The people in all corners of the globe spontaneously came together because they saw “Little Victoria.”

Cheng’s response to the failure of environmental policy by the world’s governments over the last 100 years is for ordinary people to take up the cause, to give away a limited amount of resources, and to collect sufficient material in a brief time. She named her company “One World Waves” in a country with a very unique tapestry of natural and religious structures. It aims to be a hub for environmental awareness and a cause that transcends borders.

Cheng’s message to viewers of the CNN story: “It is up to the people of Bali to save Bali. This is not only my work, but also your work. It is up to you to take action and save this land.”

Cheng has received a number of awards, including the Japanese honor Order of Happiness and Order of Merit. On April 5, she will attend the inaugural Global Plastic Pollution Summit in Singapore. Her goal is to convince other plastic collectors to begin donating their garbage.

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