An aerial image of a girl lying amidst piles of rubbish on Batu Bolong Beach has gone viral after influencer Jordan Simons posted it to his instagram account, @thelifeofjord, yesterday.
Single-use water cups, plastic bottles, discarded flip flops, instant food packets and straws are among the washed-up items surrounding the swimsuit-clad model, Simons’ girlfriend Olivia Dejeu, who is a fashion and travel vlogger.
Captioned “Just another day in paradise,” the photo has garnered more than 22,000 likes and stirred up a whole lot of controversy. While most comments expressed shame—”So embarrassed to see it 👀” said @amerzadd—others claimed that the sea of trash is an annual phenomenon that occurs during rainy season.
Several netizens even suggested that Simons had planted the rubbish before the shoot. “Did you just take photos (after picking up) a lot plastic around there?” commented @putripurple8.
In response the accusations that he had engineered the image, Simons posted this drone footage yesterday:
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For anyone asking if we editted any rubbish into the photo to make it look like more, here's the answer. Thanks to everyone thats shared, liked and commented so far. The more people that see this, the more people there are that are likely to do something about it ✌ If you want to see some cool movements that are already happening, check out: @adventurebagcrew @ecobalirecycle @4ocean and comment any others below! #leaveitbetter #baliindonesia #bali #balibible #indonesiaku #indonesia #adventurebag #plasticpatrol #passionpassport #beautifuldestinations #thebalibible
Sadly, Bali’s plastic waste predicament is not a new narrative. Back in 2012, pro surfer Kelly Slater famously tweeted,”If Bali doesn’t #Dosomething serious about this pollution it’ll be impossible to surf here in a few years. Worst I’ve ever seen”. Earlier this year, diver Rich Horner’s underwater footage of the Manta Point dive site in Nusa Penida captured more yellowing poly bags than marine life.
The government even declared an official ‘garbage emergency’ on several beaches in Kuta, Jimbaran and Seminyak at this time last year.
According to a report published on Statista, Indonesia is the world’s second biggest contributor to marine debris after China, with an estimated 1.29 million metric tons of its plastic waste ending up in the oceans annually.