Blog

Clean Bali

Volunteer's Blog

Denpasar, Bali, January 2015 (Emilia Cendrowska)

As long as I am here, i realise more the problems around.

Every year when the rainy season starts in Bali the entire length of Kuta beach is inundated with a floating mass of trash in sufficient quantities to disgust visitors to the beachfront, frequently ending plans for a day of surf and sand. According to Rad
ar Bali, a large amount of trash, much of it plastic, washed ashore on December 10, 2014 – estimated to be 250 tons by the Badung Hygiene and Parks Department (DKP).

rsz_trash_tidal_wave

The massive amount of detritus spans the island’s busiest beaches, including Ulus, Kuta, Semiyak, and Canggu. The waste is a mix of local trash and the refuse generated by Bali’s rapidly growing tourism industry. Over three million people visited Indonesia’s smallest province last year alone, up by more than 11 percent from the previous year. The island’s refuse collection and disposal services are not able to keep up with the volume of waste, so the debris is illegally dumped or pushed offsite. Out of sight, out of mind? Hardly. It all resurfaces on the sand all of those tourists come to enjoy.

For me its seems like The Indonesian Government does not care about the Environment. They allow garbage to be randomly disposed without even providing proper facilities. They allow rainforest to be chopped down for palm oil, they allow native animals to culled and sold as medicine and souvenirs, they allow the oceans in Indonesia to be raped by commercial fishing fleets to the point of exhaustion.

Each year as the rivers and waterways become flooded, the estimated 5000 tons of solid waste that is illegally dumped on the island each day in gullies, streams, rivers and estuaries, is flushed to the ocean contaminating water supplies and smothering Bali’s marine environment – not to mention those sandy white beaches.

The trash problem is getting so bad in Bali that rubbish from Indonesia is beginning to land on Australian beaches. And this waste crisis is only getting worse. Bali has more than four million residents, three million Javanese migrants and over 10 million international tourists visiting each year, with a very bad waste management system in place that simply can’t handle the increasing garbage disposal.

The future for Bali’s natural environment is looking pretty dismal and this year could be off the charts, but there are a number of campaigns, organizations and local communities out there working hard to protect the island, and there are a few things that we as responsible residents and tourists can do to help too.

“As consumers, the best way for us to minimize the increasing waste problem is to stop it at the source,” says Matthew. “Avoid items that use more than one wrapper, refuse plastic bags at supermarkets and try to use recyclable goods wherever possible. At the very least, reuse your plastic bags. It’s simple things like this that will start to make a real difference, whilst at the same time, we at R.O.L.E. are integrating educational programs into schools and local communities. Education really is the key.”

We’ll just have to wait and see what the Governor has to say this year about the inevitable trash tidal wave, so in the meantime, I’m hitting the beach in between showers, hopefully sans the plastic bags for swim caps.

bali-garbage1