May 22, 2024

Bali's dream beaches have become huge garbage dumps

Volunteers collect garbage from a river in Pecatu, Bali. The deluge of garbage that has inundated many beaches and river banks for days is frightening.

Photograph: Ferdia Lisnawati/AP

Garbage carpet instead of a dream beach: A deluge of plastic bottles and unrecognizable trash has been washing up on the beach in Bali for days. The problem is not new, but the extent of its spread is.

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  • A deluge of waste has engulfed the Indonesian holiday island of Bali for several days.
  • The garbage collection team, in cooperation with volunteers, has collected 100 tons of garbage since Wednesday.
  • “I'm in Bali right now, and there's plastic everywhere on the beach and in the sea, from Jimbaran to Uluwatu,” one frustrated holidaymaker wrote on a Bali travel forum on Facebook.

Bali has had a massive garbage problem for years. But the floods of garbage that have submerged many beaches and river banks for several days have become frightening even for the Indonesian holiday island, and are making headlines in local media and social networks.

The Bali Sun newspaper reported that Kedonganan and Jimbaran beaches in the area around Kuta, which are very popular with surfers, as well as the town of Pecatu, home to the famous Dreamland Beach, were particularly badly affected.

100 tons of waste have already been collected

He stated that the garbage collection team and volunteers have already managed to collect 100 tons of garbage since Wednesday, especially plastic waste. “And there are many.” Strong westerly winds regularly sweep whole carpets of garbage from the sea and ships onto the coast of Bali, much to the disappointment of many tourists who dreamed of picture-postcard beaches.

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“I'm in Bali right now, and there's plastic everywhere on the beach and in the sea, from Jimbaran to Uluwatu,” one frustrated holidaymaker wrote on a Bali travel forum on Facebook. “Is there currently a beach without plastic?” According to Bali Sun, many holiday guests got carried away and took part in collection drives on particularly dirty beaches.

Indonesia is the second largest plastic polluter in the world

Aside from meteorological events, many Balinese residents also lack the necessary environmental awareness, say ecologists. Many residents simply throw garbage behind their homes into dams and rivers. “We hope that the government will be more consistent in managing waste and improving knowledge of it among school children,” said Jerry Mariani, who organizes garbage collection drives.

According to the United Nations, Indonesia is the second largest plastic polluter in the world after China. A 2020 report by the United Nations Environment Program stated that “the country produces 3.2 million tons of uncontrolled plastic waste every year, of which about 1.29 million tons end up in the sea.” With a population of more than 274 million, Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous country and the world's largest island nation.

dpa