Trash Attack: Bali’s beaches are the worst they’ve been in 10 years, say authorities

Kuta Beach last week. Photo: @denpasar.viral/@masa_sevenseas
Kuta Beach last week. Photo: @denpasar.viral/@masa_sevenseas

Every year, the wet season rains exasperate Bali’s garbage issues, washing up large quantities of organic and non-organic junk onto its shores. But according to the Badung Regency Environmental and Hygiene Service (DLHK), the ugly problem has reached a record high peak this year.

The head of DHLK, I Putu Eka Merthawan, told local news outlet Kumparan that the volume of waste evacuated from the Badung coast recently has been the highest recorded in ten years, with 250 tons of waste being collected every day. Merthawan revealed that, in contrast, a typical rainy season beach haul would garner about 50 tons per day.

The affected stretches include the popular tourist beaches of Kuta, Seminyak, Petitenget, Batu Belig, Canggu, and Jimbaran. Understandably, Bali’s visitors have expressed disappointment towards the cluttered coastlines.

“I feel this beach is very dirty, and doesn’t match the photos I saw on the internet,” said Yuanhaiwei, a Chinese tourist, to the outlet. Yuanhaiwei had reportedly been looking forward to eating at Jimbaran Beach’s famous seafood shacks while taking in the usually beautiful scenery.

Local reports say that plastic and wood have been dominating the pile-ups, though coconut shells, sandals and other miscellaneous debris have also been collected. The origin of the extraordinarily large volumes of garbage is still under debate, though Merthawan suspects that some of it could have been carried from relatively long distances given the strong waves of late.

“This is not a disaster for Badung alone, this is a national disaster. So, national garbage gathers in the sea and goes to Kuta beach. Badung is a victim of garbage coming from everywhere. People may clean the area but throw it into the sea, and so it runs to Kuta Beach,” he said, as quoted in Kumparan.

Up until today, the DHLK continue to evacuate the garbage, assisted by 1,000 personnel, 45 trucks and 4 loader units.

Let’s hope that Governor Wayan Koster’s recent ban on single-use plastics, as well as the proposed ten-dollar tourist tax aimed at preserving Bali’s environment and culture, can help ease this ugly situation.

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