Thursday, 28 December 2017

It's known as paradise on earth Bali's palm-fringed Kuta is disappearing under a mountain of garbage as officials remove 100 tons of garbage a day

Bali's palm-fringed Kuta beach has long been a favourite with tourists seeking sun and surf, but nowadays its golden shoreline is disappearing under a mountain of garbage.
Plastic straws and food packaging are strewn between sunbathers, while surfers bobbing behind the waves dodge waste flushed out from rivers or brought in by swirling currents.
"When I want to swim, it is not really nice.
I see a lot of garbage here every day, every time," Austrian traveller Vanessa Moonshine explains. "It's always coming from the ocean.
It's really horrible," she adds.
Often dubbed a paradise on earth, the Indonesian holiday island has become an embarrassing poster child for the country's trash problem.
The archipelago of more than 17,000 islands is the world's second-biggest contributor to marine debris after China, and a colossal 1.29 million metric tons is estimated to be produced annually by Indonesia.
The waves of plastic flooding into rivers and oceans have been causing problems for years -- clogging waterways in cities, increasing the risk of floods, and injuring or killing marine animals who ingest or become trapped by plastic packaging.
The problem has grown so bad that officials in Bali last month declared a "garbage emergency" across a six-kilometre (3.7-mile) stretch of coast that included popular beaches Jimbaran, Kuta and Seminyak.
Officials deployed 700 cleaners and 35 trucks to remove roughly 100 tons of debris each day to a nearby landfill.
"People with green uniform were collecting the garbage to move it away but the next day I saw the same situation," said German Claus Dignas, who claimed he saw more garbage with each visit to the island.
"No one wants to sit on nice beach chairs and facing all this rubbish," he added.
Bali's rubbish problem is at its worst during the annual monsoon season, when strong winds push marine flotsam onto the beach and swollen rivers wash rubbish from riverbanks to the coast, according to Putu Eka Merthawan from the local environment agency.
"This garbage does not come from people living in Kuta and nearby areas," he told AFP.
"It would be suicidal if Kuta people were doing it."
Some 72 kilometres from Kuta, Mount Agung has been threatening to erupt for two months, prompting tourists to cancel visits and displacing tens of thousands of villagers living within a
A 10-kilometre radius of the volcano's crater.
But the island's waste problem is no less of a threat, said I Gede Hendrawan, an environmental oceanography researcher from Bali's Udayana University.
"Garbage is aesthetically disturbing to tourists, but the plastic waste issue is way more serious," he told AFP.
"Microplastics can contaminate fish which, if eaten by humans, could cause health problems including cancer."
Indonesia is one of nearly 40 countries that are part of UN Environment's Clean Seas campaign, which aims to halt the tide of plastic trash polluting the oceans.
As part of its commitment, the government has pledged to reduce marine plastic waste by 70 percent by 2025.
It plans to boost recycling services, curb the use of plastic bags, launch cleanup campaigns and raise public awareness.
Still, the scale of the problem facing Indonesia is huge, due to its population of more than 250 million and poor waste processing infrastructure.
Hendrawan, who says both locals and tourists are responsible for the island's rubbish problem, urged authorities to invest more resources to tackle the problem.
The Bali government should spare more budget to raise people's awareness to take care of local rivers, not to dump waste," he said.
"The central government should boost the campaign to reduce the use of plastic packaging and ban free plastic bags at convenience stores."



  1. every vacation we have ever had wether in the Carabean or Mexico, or Equador or the Bahamas garbage is every where, they dont clean it up , if they are done drinking a water bottle they throw it to the ground or likewise a bag a paper a bottle all to the ground and its a big big turn off, so i dont go anymore to those places.

    1. Why don't they just throw the trash into the volcano. Problem solved.

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  3. Totally understood, it would be so discouraging to see indigenous people trash their own land. It makes one wonder what type of social conditioning they've been subjected to, that would cause them to disrespect their own environment to that degree. I'm sure that hasn't always been the mindset, otherwise, it would never have been considered a pristine paradise to begin with.

  4. Definition of Paradise: An island not bought up by the Travel industry Cartel. That's bankers, insurance, equity, and travel/tourist companies.

  5. I was raised by a mother in the 50's who was before her time. she would take a wrapper home to throw into the trash. She taught us to clean up after ourselves, throw away trash in proper places, not to litter and if unable to throw it in a proper place, put into a bag to throw away later, she also taught us to recycle anything and everything possible. food, buttons, clothing, she was a wise woman.

  6. A disposable, corporate culture inundates other cultures with garbage ... and you blame the indigenous. How is such a small percentage of the world responsible for this massive amount of garbage. One finger points out, three point back.

  7. The whole world is to blame (the polluting people's worldwide who throw a bottle, wrapper or what have you a few at a time) for the mess on the beaches and the oceans, it washes up on the beaches from the oceans and it is just the tip of the iceberg compared to what has not been washed up and is sitting at the bottom of the oceans. I blame all of the ignorant, badly raised populace who haven't been taught not to litter or pollute, It starts at home just like also teaching manners and hard work, if children do not learn these things from their parents, they will not learn at school or in the evil world around them.