Bali is facing an environmental and potential health disaster with the trash on the island. The beaches are littered in heaps of plastic rubbish and having to share the line up with nappies and plastic is indeed no longer rarity, especially in the rainy season as the monsoon rains arrive and the onshore winds strengthen.
Only 30 years ago, plastic was not used in Bali at all. Local Balinese people traditionally used only organic materials leaving no waste behind. Today, almost every item you buy in Bali, is packed in plastic, which adds up to close to 10 million plastic bags and over 240 tons solid waste per day. With the lack of education on the disposal of rubbish many of the millions of plastic bags end up clutter the environment, finding their way into the rivers and eventually ending up in the ocean. Catching waves amidst the waste is disgusting and just really sad.
Not only is the waste displeasing to the eye, it also poses major health risks to the people and the environment. In Bali, plastic waste is often burnt in public places. Emissions from burnt waste have been related to many major health concerns, including increased cancer rates, reproductive/birth defects, kidney disease, and many respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis.
This inappropriate waste management is a wide spread issue throughout Bali and Indonesia. It is an issue that must be addressed as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
Beach cleaning operations make the tideline bearable, but until now there have been few initiatives to strike at the heart of the problem. I am doing my part in resolving Bali´s waste problems by educating local Balinese about the importance of waste management, by building rubbish bins and educational signs on the beach and by supporting programs like the Bali Beach Cleanup Community Berawa Canggu. Another wonderful example to support are the two young girls from The Green School who have set up ‘Bye,Bye Plastic Bags’ – a Petition on Avaaz to ban plastic bags on the island.
As an individual you CAN make a difference too, and you can do so while surfing and having fun!