In an effort to clean their world-famous beaches, Balinese officials have banned the use of single-use plastics on the island.
As more and more tourists explore the beautiful sights of Bali, the amount of garbage produced was sure to increase. Without action from the government, the sand granules on the beach could’ve been replaced with plastic.
Indonesia is one of the world’s largest plastic polluters, producing 3.2 million tons of plastic annually. This makes it the second biggest plastic polluter, just after China, a country with a population five times larger. However, Bali has become an example of terrible waste management instead of remaining an island paradise for tourists.
In 2017, officials declared a “garbage emergency” due to the colossal amount of waste on the beaches. Authorities employed 700 cleaners and 35 trucks to remove around 100 tons of garbage every day.
At the end of last year, Bali Governor Wayan Koster officially banned single-use plastics to aid with the amount of garbage on the island. These include plastic bags, Styrofoam, and straws. A grace period of six months began last December, and everyone on the island must begin to shift their lifestyle. Businesses, in particular, need to find new ways to operate because 80% of the garbage on beaches come from hotel or resort waste dumped in rivers inland. The governor is hopeful that the new policy will reduce 70% of waste by 2019.
Bali isn’t the only paradise island that needed a heavy hand from officials for clean-up. Last April, the Philippine government closed the island of Boracay because it could no longer handle the volume of waste produced by the 6 million tourists who visit it. Thai authorities also shut down Maya Bay in the Phi Phi islands due to over-tourism that devastated 72% of the coral reefs and produced polluted water beside hotels.
It’s ironic that people don’t take great care of islands they deem as paradise. If it’s truly heaven on Earth, then we should be treating it with the utmost care and respect. With the help of the authorities, the health of these islands are slowly getting better. Along with a change in attitude and lifestyle, we can preserve these little pieces of heaven for everyone to enjoy.