When we think of Bali we immediately think of a paradise: A tropical island in the deep blue of the ocean, lushly green rice paddy fields, crystal clear water crashing against white sandy beaches.
But the paradise has changed a lot during the past years: one million tourists are coming to Bali every year. Together with four million Balinese they produce a huge amount of waste.
In the capital Denpasar you can find a dumpsite which is a 14storey high mountain of trash. But still there is no organized trash management. For most of the Balinese people to dispose the waste is far too expensive. They prefer to lit a fire in front of their houses, where they burn organic waste besides all other kinds of trash.
But the biggest problem is the huge consumption of plastic. Not a long time ago, what is now packed up in plastic, used to be wrapped in banana leaves, such as lunch packages and the innumerable beautiful little offerings for Temple ceremonies.
Like before, when people used to throw their banana leaves in the nature, they now do the same with the plastic: not only beside the rice paddies but also at holy places one can see little empty plastic bags of sweets, peanuts and cookies.
In Bali plastic waste has reaches close to 1,000 tons per day! As one can imagine Bali’s rivers not only carry the trash and rag but also the plastic to the ocean, which can then be found at the beaches as the new debris of the sea.
Now, more and more people realize that this has to be changed! There is already a variety of initiatives in Bali with the main concern how to resolve the trash problem on the island.
Together with local children, the students meet almost every Saturday to clean up some of the beaches at the South coast. Here they collect trash, mostly plastic.
The students also visit the local shops to supply them with cotton bags in order to reduce their use of plastic bags.
However in some coffee shops and restaurant one can already find alternatives to plastic straws.
Until now Bali’s biggest beach clean up will take place on Sunday the 19th February.
The goal is that again only organic debris will be found on Bali’s beaches in the future!