By Samir N., Voluntourist, IHF Bali
Bali is known to many as a serene and beautiful place to live, visit, and travel in. However, people don´t expect the amount of trash, litter, and pollution that plagues the beaches and coasts of Bali.
According to Environment.web.id in 2011, “The island generates up to 20,000 cubic meters of trash daily and 75 percent is left uncollected on the roadside and at illegal dumps, posing a mounting problem and health hazard to the surrounding community.” Since then the population and tourism factor have increased exponentially and the trash and pollution issue has only gotten worse. The trash not only effects the beaches, but the streams and other pocketed areas. According to a research biologist at Udayana University in Denpasar, “by 2015, Bali will begin to suffer from the effects of a clean-water deficit”. He added that the current water deficit has already led to unproductive rice paddies on the southern coast.
The current also doesn’t help the trash problem. An abundance of trash from different parts of the island ends up in the sea. The current then swings this trash around to different beaches. During the months of December to June, Kuta Beach is known to be under “trash season”. Trash not only from Bali, but also Java and nearby islands end up polluting the beaches.
What can we do? Until the government can get its act together and install more trash sites, and a better government sponsored trash pickup, we at the IHF have taken our own spin on the situation. Here at the IHF we are recycling: plastic, aluminum cans, and paper. Not to mention we have our very own compost site.
The plastics get taken to a local hotel that has also taken efforts to properly dispose of waste. They take the plastics and are able to recycle, reuse, and dispose of them properly. The aluminum cans are picked up by some of the kids who then take them to recycling centers and earn money for the cans.
We are also taking efforts to clean up our local beaches. We teach the students at our center how to take care of their local areas, how trash effects the world, and how it effects them. This past weekend we had a beach clean-up day. We spent some time on the beach picking up plastic waste to take over to the local hotel. The kids learned the hard work at cleaning up other people’s trash, and learned to take care of their own.
Change begins with the new generation, and by teaching them the mistakes of the past, we can hope for a better future.