Officials in Bali have confirmed that clean-up teams are ready and waiting to deal with the inevitable tides of plastic that will start washing up on the island’s most popular beaches in the coming weeks.
Every year during late December, January, and February, ocean plastic washes up by the tons.
Leaders in Badung Regency have reported that tides of ocean plastic have not yet been recorded along the southern coast of the island.
Most years, the worst affected beaches are also the island’s most popular. These are known locally as Samigita Beach, which runs from Kuta Beach through Legian Beach all the way down to Seminyak Beach.
Cleaning officers from the Environment and Hygiene Service (LHK) remain on standby for when the first waves of trash land on the shores of Bali.
The Badung LHK Marine Debris Detection and Evacuation Coordinator, I Made Gede Dwipayana, said that the condition of the beaches in the Samigita area, including currently, is still free from the impact of marine debris.
@sungaiwatch Once again, Bali’s beaches are covered in plastic 😰 We will be cleaning this up over the next few days. Come help us if you can! #sungaiwatch ♬ original sound – Sungai Watch
Dwipayana said, “The condition of the beach is still safe, meaning that the rubbish is not as visible as in previous years. What is clear is that the volume of rubbish this year compared to last year is very much less.”
He continued, “In previous years, December towards January was the peak time. The average waste per day is 100 to 150 tonnes. This year, it’s around 10 percent.”
Garbage and marine debris are washing up on Bali’s shore, and to keep on top of the problem cleaning crews are doing daily beach sweeps.
@4ocean 3,900 pounds of trash cleaned up ✅ Our Bali crew recently tackled a very dirty Melaya Beach and were able to make a huge impact recovering trash. This is what our cleanup crews around the world are doing every single day thanks to your support. Let's keep getting after it! 🤙 #bali #oceancleanup #plasticpollution #beachcleanup ♬ original sound – 4ocean – 4ocean, PBC
Dwipayana said “Currently we routinely carry out sweeping steps. We have ensured that all equipment is in combat-ready condition. But we still hope that there really won’t be any trash coming in.”
The weather in Bali has been notably dry, although rains and storms have rolled through, the current rainy season is off to a slow start compared to previous years.
Over in Sanur, two of the resort’s biggest hotels, Hyatt Regency Bali and Andaz Bali, have clubbed together to invest in a beach cleaning robot.
The Hyatt Bebot has been designed to comb the sand for small pieces of trash, and microplastics.v
The robot can collect everything from cigarette butts to food wrappers, bottle caps, cardboard and much more.
It is silent, so it does not disturb tourists’ experience of the beach, and it’s also solar-powered, making it a completely eco-friendly solution.
However, the Bebot could not handle the size and volume of trash that washes up on Kuta and Legian Beaches this time of the year.
The efforts to tackle the ocean debris on the Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak Beaches are just one of the hundreds of localized initiatives that are trying to combat Bali’s mounting plastic waste problem.
In October and November, Bali’s biggest landfill sites caught fire due to prolonged drought and high temperatures.
The landfills, known locally as TPAs, were all due to be closed ahead of the G20 Summit in November 2022. However, many of the island’s open landfill sites are still accepting tonnes upon tonnes of unprocessed organic and non-organic waste every day.
Acting Governor Sang Made Mahendra Jaya has suggested that up to 70% of Bali’s new tourism tax will be spent on tackling waste management when it is introduced on the 14th of February 2024.
Two of the biggest threats to Bali’s tourism sector are traffic issues and waste management issues.
The Acting Governor told reporters in October, “50-70% [of tourism tax income] will be for waste handling. The hope is that in 2024, the waste problem will be resolved because funds are available.”
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