Indonesia’s Former Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti, has spoken to the media about the need for a specialist task force in Bali to deal with the ocean plastic that washes up on the island’s beaches. Talking over a video call, the Pandu Laut Eco Festival, Pudjiastuti, said that the tide of garbage on Bali’s beaches comes from both rivers inland and the ocean.
Pudjiastuti told the virtual attendees, “Most of the garbage comes from that area [inland Bali], then during the rainy season, it returns to the sea. The garbage is from all around there. [Trash is] carried away by waterways as if it’s [water]. Even though 80 percent of it is trash from all around [Bali]”.
She then called on the provincial government to improve their monitoring of sewers in coastal areas. Advice that has been shouted from the rooftops by disaster management teams after the heavy rains and flash floods earlier this month.
She continued, “What must be paid attention to is the need for monitoring, such as mobile security guards. Maybe there are hotels that drain into the sea. Sometimes, there are garbage trucks that throw garbage off the cliffs onto the beach. There needs to be monitoring from the government. Don’t just think it’s [exported] garbage because, in fact, most of the waste comes from the surrounding area”.
The Director of the shipping and logistics company Samudera Indonesia, Bani M Mulia, agreed that more needed to be done to tackle the problem and create long-term solutions. Mulia noted that the issue of ocean plastic is starting to impact shipping vessels, not just the experience of those on the beaches.
Mulia said, “It’s like embarrassing. Because sometimes ships from outside just want to dock at the port, the sea conditions are dirty. There has also been a crew member of a ship that dives in Indonesian waters, [and they were] it was hit by garbage or something. But if [someone] dives into the Singapore Sea, it’s like splashing in a swimming pool. Apart from that, garbage also causes the ship’s parking lot to stink. And the worst thing is damaging ships, especially small boats”.
Mulia suggested that it is the responsibility of businesses and commutes to educate the younger generations about the issues at hand. He shared the work of the Samudera Care initiative that teaches young people the importance of protecting the oceans and reducing plastic waste.
He said, “This event [virtual conference] is one of the company’s efforts to conduct education, while for education in formal education, Samudera Peduli also has a school boat program to help young people get education from formal education.”
The Pandu Laut Eco Festival hosted online and in-person events during the festival. In-person events include a series of beach clean-ups that collected waste from the coastline spanning from Masceti Beach to Keramas. During the beach clean-ups, the community and eco-leaders collected 314 kg of waste, which has been sent to recycling and waste management stations for processing.
Earlier this month, two of Indonesia’s leading environmental NGOs announced a partnership to address the problem of plastic waste in Bali. Waste4Change and ecoBali announced a new campaign to make a real impact on the seemingly never-ending tides of garbage that are deposited along Bali’s coasts.
The organizations will work alongside the provincial government to create systemic changes to the waste management system on the island and tackle the issue of waste management around the country to help reduce garbage ending up in the ocean in the first place.
In October, Bali’s Deputy Governor, Tjokorda Oka Arta Ardhana Sukawati, also known as Cok Ace, called on local communities to go more to address the ‘ticking time bomb’ of waste management on the island. He said, “waste management must be started and carried out by all parties, especially those from waste producers such as households, hotels, schools, offices, industries, and other public places”.
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