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Island-Wide Efforts To Clean Up Bali’s Waterways Set To Impress Tourists 

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Monsoon season has very much arrived in Bali.

The rains have brought a welcome end to the prolonged drought but landslides and localized flooding have already been recorded around the islands.

With the rainy season set to continue for the next few months, teams across the province are working to clean up Bali’s waterways. 

River in Rural Bali Surrounded by plam trees and rice paddies.jpg

For travelers who have visited Bali before or who take a keen interest in environmental issues in Indonesia, it will come as no surprise to see rivers, streams, and agricultural irrigation channels blocked with plastic waste, trash, and storm debris.

These blockages not only cause huge amounts of pollution to the island’s freshwater but also contribute to flooding in the rainy season. 

There is a huge island-wide effort to tackle the ongoing waste management issues and to combat the pollution in Bali’s waterways.

Led by NGOs, communities, and the authorities too, there is a huge surge of work ticking along the background that once completed will improve the lives of local residents and impress Bali tourists. 

Sungai Watch is one of the biggest environmental NGOs in Bali. The organization is on a mission to remove all waste from all waterways in Bali.

Last week Acting Governor Sang Made Mahendra Jaya joined a clean-up mission to experience for himself the extent of the problem.

The Acting Governor got his hands dirty and worked alongside the Sungai Watch team to remove trash from Bali’s precious Tahura Ngurah Rai Mangrove Ecosystem.

He said “I came here to see, it turns out there is a big problem related to how we want to take better care of nature, protect nature by not throwing rubbish carelessly, because this is such a beautiful place.”

“We feel so peaceful here, so cool, but there is a lot of plastic waste.”

On the 27th of November communities, the military, and government officials came together to help clean up the world-famous Lake Batur.

The popular tourist landmark, which sits beneath Mount Batur, has been affected by agricultural runoff polluting the waters. Teams pour 20 tonnes of eco-enzyme into the lake to help purify the waters.

In anticipation of more rain in Denpasar and the surrounding areas, the City Government is working this week to clean up as many waterways as possible.

Not only does the plastic waste in the city’s rivers and streams cause water pollution, but the blockages cause water to stagnate creating the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos, increasing the island’s transmission risk for dengue river.

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The Head of Pemecutan Kelod I Wayan Tantra, told reporters this week that communities are working in partnership with the environmental agency to clean up the rivers.

Tantra explained, “hope is that through this community service, the potential for flooding can be minimized and have a positive impact on the surrounding environment.”

In Jagapati Village, close to Bali Zoo and Bali Bird Park, the Regent of Badung, has just formally opened a new recycling facility.

Regent Nyoman Giri Prasta told reporters that he wants to see many more 3R TPST (recycling) facilities open in villages across the regency so that villages and communities become more self-sufficient in processing their waste, ultimately reducing the amount of trash that ends up in Bali’s open landfill sites.

In November, three of Bali’s biggest landfill sites caught fire for days on end. 


Efforts to combat the problem are being put in place in big and small ways. In November the Hyatt Regency Bali and Andaz Bali, two of the biggest resorts in Sanur, revealed the new Hyatt Bebot.

The little robot is designed to remove plastics and microplastics from the sand on the beach. 


Much of Bali’s efforts to clean up waterways and eliminate the need for landfill sites go unnoticed by tourists, as many argue it should.

Yet, the implications of the island’s issues of waste management are becoming ever more evident to tourists.

Whether that be burning landfill sites causing poor air quality, trash piling up on the beaches, or rivers blocked with trash, tourists want to know how Bali is working to tackle the issue that at a surface level impacts the aesthetic comfort of a vacation, and at a more serious level poses a threat to public health. 


All of these efforts are having an incremental effect on Bali’s waste management issues.

Acting Governor Sang Made Mahendra Jaya has committed 50-70% of tourism tax funds to fix Bali’s trash problem for the benefit of residents and tourists. 

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Saturday 9th of December 2023

The only way to clean up Bali is make it a huge fine for littering or put them in jail!!!! Local people have no respect for the envirment. I went on a beach cleanup once and the locals just pointed and laughed at me saying in Indonesian that I was a fool. One guy threw his water bottle at us. These people have Zero respect taking their mufflers off their 100cc motorcycles. Mark my word it will not be long before people stop coming to Bali and Bali will be bankrupt. Time now for a new leader of Bali and police that respect the new leader


Sunday 10th of December 2023


right on. Its horrible the disrespect they have for their home.


Sunday 10th of December 2023

@JR, Quote "The only way to clean up Bali is make it a huge fine for littering or put them in jail!!!!"

Well, Denpasar bylaw states 50 Juta fine or 3 month in jail for littering, throwing trash or burning trash. Same for noisy motorbikes; the law states 1 month jail for that too.

The laws are already there; it is just the authorities do not care about enforcement. So why is that? The answer is simple; most locals do not have much money so spending time on prosecuting poor locals is bad for cash flow.

Therefore focus is on "uncovering" crimes that can bring in serious cash: Last week two police officers in Bali was accused of blackmailing an illegal mining operation in North Bali for 1.8 Milyar (USD 115,000). There is the focus right there.


Thursday 7th of December 2023

This is so funny. They have to get foreign people from an NGO to clean their toilets, I mean their island that is basically a toilet. Bali people love living in garbage, it makes them feel important. You can't take the monkey out of the apes that live here.


Sunday 10th of December 2023


Yes, I am Aussie born and bred. A proud member of the one of the greatest, and maybe the most superior race of people God ever put on this planet. Its a great task to withstand daily the abysmal, deplorable behavior of the cute pretty lazy people here all dressed up and playing ceremony destroy such a beautiful island faster than any other humans could do it.


Saturday 9th of December 2023

@Albert, you sound like a typical racist Australian who hasn't evolved past 1950.


Thursday 7th of December 2023

Should be on the Comedy Channel.

Steve b

Thursday 7th of December 2023

Lokal people don't care,


Thursday 7th of December 2023

Thanks to the NGOs monumental efforts some progress in cleaning up waste is being done by them. This is a gigantic task which needs funds and government involvement.

All levels of government have not done any significant effort to educate people, to sanaction small businesses for polluting, or implement an "Regulation" on waste management or use of technology across all Bali. There is 100.000.000 tons more waste on Land than there is in any landfill in Bali. This issue is not really addressed.