Bali’s most popular beaches prepare for an onslaught of plastic pollution washing onto the shoreline. In an annual phenomenon, plastic waste, garbage, and waste from shipping vessels will be carried into land by strong winds, high tides, and driving rains.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, 12th October, the Head of Kuta Beach Task Force, I Wayan Sirna, explained, ‘Since yesterday there has been an arrival of garbage, only the peak of the [waste arrival will be] at the end of November’.
Usually, the accumulation of shipping waste and ocean plastic hits Kuta Beach in November, which is poor timing, especially this year, as Bali will be hosting the G20 Summit from the 15th-16th of November, and all eyes will be on the island. This year the waste has begun to flow onto the shore earlier than expected.
Despite the plastic waste on beaches and in the water, surfers are still heading out to hit the waves off Kuta Beach. Sirna told reporters, ‘There is no effect of this garbage with the number of tourist visits because they already know about the west wind phenomenon and the intensity of rain at the end of the year which can bring garbage to this beach’.
When asked what would be done to tackle the problem, Sirna confirmed that his teams are already working to clear the garbage from the beach. He said, ‘To overcome this problem, we usually coordinate with the relevant agencies so that the waste can be cleaned immediately. Because per day, the amount of waste can reach 8 trucks to 10 trucks’.
Looking at the waste that has washed up, there is everything from plastic waste, fishing gear, and foamy polluted water, then coming from inland downstream towards the ocean, teams find tree branches, leaf litter, and more plastic waste that has found its way into Bali’s rivers and waterways.
Officers from Denpasar City Council (DLHK) have confirmed that they are taking action on the plastic waste that is washing up across the southern coast. Though Kuta Beach tends to bear the brunt of the tide of trash, other cares along the southern coast, like Sanur, are also affected.
Denpasar City Council confirmed that they conducted a clean-up operation in Sanur on Tuesday, 11th October. They said that the early arrival of the waste patch was bought on by the heavy rains and strong winds that have been causing devastation across the island.
Earlier this week, officials from the Center for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BBMKG) in Denpasar issued severe weather warnings for all areas of Bali from Monday 10th October through to the 15th, with a review to be held over the weekend.
Speaking to reporters at the announcement of the weather warnings, the Head of the Data and Information Division for the BBMKG in Denpasar, I Nyoman Gede Wirajaya, explained what was causing such a severe weather front. He explained, ‘From the results of the latest atmospheric dynamics analysis, it shows that there is a cyclonic circulation that forms a pattern of wind bends and a slowdown in wind speed which can increase convective activity and the growth of rain clouds.
The weather front has been affecting many areas of Indonesia, with 32 regions across the archipelago receiving warnings atom the BBMKG. Drivers in Bali have been advised to proceed with extra caution, especially during heavy rains. Communities have been warned to prepare for flash flooding and falling trees. In more rural inland areas, dozens of landslides have blocked roads and even resulted in injuries for local people.
As the weekend approaches, the weather warnings remain in place. Tourists are encouraged to be extra careful when visiting Bali’s beaches and reminded that the flag system for safe swimming is not always used at public beaches. The public is warned against swimming or snorkeling in areas where there are high waves which have been predicted to hit 4m in places.
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