There is a saying that we should leave a place better than we found it. One Japanese tourist in Bali has taken the phrase to heart and has taken it upon himself to help clear up the tides of plastic waste that have washed up on Bali’s southern beaches. Suzuki Hiromas decided to dress up as Ultraman and help the community clean up plastic waste and raise awareness of the issue.
Speaking to reporters, Hiromas said, “I wear this Ultraman costume to motivate the public and visitors or tourists to help clean up the beach. We go to Bali every rainy season, like November, even twice a year. We come here specifically to help clean up trash on the beach, especially trash sent like in Kuta”. As an environmental activist in his home, Hiromas has made a positive impression in Bali.
Local surfer Putu Bagus Ucup told reporters that the support from Ultraman made a big difference. He said, “his presence helps us too. It’s good and more attractive because we saw a superhero like this when we were little. Ultraman used to be like my favorite hero“. It was not only local surfers and Hiromas who have been out cleaning the beaches. Bali authorities are leading the operation to clean up the tides of garbage on Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak Beaches.
The Badung Environment and Sanitation Service (DLHK) has been working since the 21st of December to keep on top of the swathes of trash washing up on shore. The Head of Badung DLHK’s Cleanliness and Management of Hazardous and Toxic Materials, AA Gede Agung Dalem, noted that the recent storms and heavy rains had not made it any easier to clear the trash from the beach.
@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
Dalem explained, “Garbage has reappeared in large quantities during the extreme weather that has occurred in the last few days. But we have paid attention to it”. The DLHK has deployed over 300 staff to clean up the beaches across Badung and has supplied seven diggers and excavators to help move the masses of garbage. Dalem shared that 56 tonnes of waste have been removed from the Kuta area over the last three days. In total, 98 tons have been removed in the last week.
By Wednesday evening, 15 trucks of waste had been removed from Kuta Beach, a further eight from Camplung Beach, and five from Legian Beach. The colossal amount of garbage on the beaches I not only affecting tourists visiting Bali but local residents’ normal daily routines too. Dr. Panudiana Kuhn, who visits Kuta Beach most days for exercise, says that although she is used to the sight of trash on the beach, more needs to be done.
She explained, “I am a Kuta person who already knows and is used to it. Foreign tourists or domestic tourists are sure to be surprised at how dirty it is. This is almost 600 tons of garbage sent every year; the local government budget must be increased to clean this up; even though it is cleaned in the morning, it comes again at night, there is more”. She shared that she is concerned that the unsightly scenes at the beach would promote a negative image on social media and tarnish the tourism sector.
One visitor to Bali from Jakarta, Muhammad Ali, told reports that the sight of the polluted beaches is uncomfortable for tourists who want to enjoy a beach holiday. Ali explained, “it’s uncomfortable, but what can we do? We accept this situation. But the hope is for the local government and the community to come down and work together to clean it up together.
The issue of plastic pollution in Bali is never far from public conversation. Earlier this year, Indonesia’s Former Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti, tabled an idea to the media. She called on the government to develop a specialist, full-time task force in Bali to deal with the ocean plastic that washes up on the island’s beaches.
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