Photo of mermaid on rubbish-filled Kuta beach welcomes Bali’s tidal trash wave this year

The photo of a woman dressed in turquoise-colored mermaid costume is currently making its rounds online. Screengrab: Instagram
The photo of a woman dressed in turquoise-colored mermaid costume is currently making its rounds online. Screengrab: Instagram

Update Jan. 6: Coconuts interviewed the woman behind the viral mermaid costume. Read the full story here.

Original story follows.


No one (that we know, anyway) dreams of encountering a mermaid lying amid a pile of rubbish on a Monday, but that’s exactly the sight that a bystander caught this morning on Kuta Beach, a photo of which has been widely circulating across community accounts on Instagram. 

The photo of a woman dressed in turquoise-colored mermaid costume is currently making its rounds online, as she lay on the beach with piles of plastic waste surrounding her.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Info Badung Bali (@infobadung)

It is not immediately clear whether the mermaid-themed photoshoot is a form of protest or some influencer gimmick, but it reminds of an aerial image taken in a similar setting on Batu Bolong Beach that went viral back in 2018.

Though it occurs every year with the wet season, the sight of Bali’s beaches transformed into rubbish dumps regularly make international headlines, putting the spotlight on Indonesia’s flawed waste management system. Authorities say around 80 tons of litter were collected just in the first three days of 2021. 

Comprising mostly plastic waste, an official from Badung regency’s environment and sanitation agency (DLHK) said around 40 trucks were used to haul trash from beaches along Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak since New Year’s Day.

“One truck can load about two tons, so there’s about 80 tons in the last three days,” Gede Dwipayana said yesterday.

Other photos and videos taken over the weekend also show mounds of garbage on Kuta Beach, which has few visitors compared to previous years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Wayan Suyadnya (@hiwayan)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by BALI_UNDERCOVER 🆔 (@jeg.bali)

In 2019, an official said that waste evacuated from the Badung coast was the highest in a decade, with 250 tons of waste collected daily, when a typical rainy season beach haul would garner about 50 tons per day. 

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