Skip to Content

Shocking Footage Shows Mountain Of Trash Burning In Bali 

Share The Article

Bali’s issues with waste management are no secret. The island has been buckling under the pressure of mounting waste for decades.

As the island becomes drier as the hot season progresses, fires have been breaking out across the island. From the slopes of sacred Mount Agung to landfill sites, Bali is burning.

Suwung Landfill Trash Bali.jpg

At around 11 a.m. on 12th October, a fire broke out at the Suwung TPA landfill site in South Denpasar. Within minutes, huge plumes of black smoke could be seen from miles around.

As the flames moved through the landfill and waste started to smolder, massive clouds of white smoke started rising from the site and could be seen from the Mandara Toll Road and nearby coastal resorts. 

Data from the air quality monitoring service IQ Air shows that air pollution in the southern regions of Bali today has hit dangerous levels and remains in the red as the evening turns into night. Footage of the fire at Suwung TPA continues to circulate online as officials and the fire service work to battle the blaze. 

Initial assessments suggest that 2 hectares of the trash mountain have burned, with more of the surrounding area scorched by flames.

Though as the wind continues to pick up, more of the mountain will burn. Six units from the Denpasar Fire Department have attended the scene, supported by two units called in from Gianyar Regency and two more from Badung Regency.

Reports suggest that one loader and four excavators have been used to clear a pathway through the trash mountain for emergency vehicles to access the fire. As a precautionary measure, two ambulances are on standby at the site. 

Suwung TPA is one of the biggest landfill sites in Bali and sits just off the Ngurah Rai Bypass Road. While out of view to most tourists, the landfill site is located just 6.5km from Sanur Beach to the east and 7.5 km from Kuta Beach to the west.

Tourists as far away as Canggu have reported a plastic burning smell in the air all afternoon.

The Chief Executive of the Bali Province BPBD, Made Rentin, told reporters that the relatively long dry season could be partly to blame for the fire. He added that strong winds crossing the island today have also made things more difficult for firefighters. 

Rentin explained, “The fire was quite large and clouds of smoke were rising high but so far it has not disturbed public activities, especially activities at Ngurah Rai International Airport.”

Sadly, it is not only the Suwung TPA landfill site that is ablaze. The slopes of sacred Mount Agung have been experiencing localized wildfires for weeks.

While this is not uncommon in the dry season, the fires have been notably more extensive this year.

Officers from the National Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) have been battling blazes on the slopes of the volcano over the last month, with fires getting worse again this week. 

According to the Head of the BPBD for Karangasem Regency, Ida Bagus Ketut Arimbawa, between 27th September and 11th October, over 730 hectares of forested landscape in the Karangasem Regency have burned in wildfires. 

Some of the wildfires have been triggered by natural causes, though some are thought to have been sparked by burning rubbish piles in local villages. 

Forest fires have also been burning through the slopes of Kintamani. It has been confirmed that in the nine wildfires that broke out in the final weeks of September and the early days of October in Kintamani in Bangli Regency, a total of 74.9 hectares were destroyed by fires. 

The Chief Executive of the BPBD Bangli, I Wayan Wardan, warned the public “Currently, in Kintamani in particular, there is still the potential for forest fires to occur. Because the condition of the forest is increasingly dry due to the dry season.”

Water shortages and rugged terrain make it difficult for firefighting crews to access these areas. Bali will remain on high alert for wildfires until the first big rains mark the beginning of monsoon season in mid-November. 

Remove All Ads & Unlock All Articles… Sign up for The Bali Sun Premium

Plan Your Bali Holiday:
Book The Best English Speaking Drivers For Airport Transfers & Tours
Choose From Thousands of Bali Hotels, Resorts, and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most Properties
Book Cheap Flights To Bali
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance That Covers Medical Expenses In Bali

For the latest Bali News & Debate Join our Facebook Community


Enter your email address to subscribe to The Bali Sun’s latest breaking news, straight to your inbox.


Saturday 23rd of December 2023

I've been living here for a few months now. In 2017 I was hopeful that pollution would get better, but even when diving on Amed, I heard plastic coming from the sea. It's not a Bali problem, it's an Indonesian problem. A lot of rubbish in the sea comes from Java, where I handle waste in a similarly careless way. Maybe the only way to finally change something is for the tourists to stay away. Just yesterday I saw another mountain of garbage near Tabanan burning in the middle of the forest. I will sum up in a year, but I already know that two things are absolutely chaotic and can lead to long-term damage to my health. The abnormal traffic and the plastic waste that is torched at every opportunity. I'm just a guest on this island, but I think it would be a shame if Bali were to perish because of ignorance and a lack of education in dealing with garbage. The young people simply leave all the rubbish on the beach. Even though there are trash cans there. It would be a shame if that didn't change and Bali became a second India, which I avoid for reasons of waste and air pollution.


Saturday 14th of October 2023

The rubbish dump fires, the massive piles of toxic rubbish and plastic a culmination of decades of ignorance, embarassing lack of awareness, apathy and inept governance. Even this sad event will realise nothing but bull*** band aid remedies.


Saturday 14th of October 2023

During Covid, the only thing that had priority was the installation of a good electric system and a world class 5G system. Thats a whole different topic.

Not one penny nor effort, was, or has been used to educate these people on how to take care of the trash can they live in. They seem to enjoy it actually.

If anyone of these minimarts with chairs and tables in front were to never clean, the entire sitting area would be a mountain of trash and rats and ants with Bali guys all too important to clean up after themselves sitting amongst it all smoking. They simply do not care. It reminds me of India.

And they could care less about this trash fire. To them it makes sense to burn it.


Wednesday 18th of October 2023


Could be true..Conforting.'Wheres my smoke? My rubbish? My Ants? My flies?


Sunday 15th of October 2023

@Jacques, I also believe what looks like pollution to us, simply feels like comfort to them. They grew up littering, burning trash, living amongst it... and it's probably discomforting to be in a nearly manicured country like Singapore. Air pollution, noise pollution, plastic pollution bagus!!! Lol


Sunday 15th of October 2023

@Jacques, I fully agree that no effort, programs by any government, focuses on educating people about cleaning behind them prior,during or after covid. Minimarts is one example, but there are hundreds of drink stalls along the beach that pollute daily. No one cares. This is worrying because it only leads to higher level of waste not only in landfills but along roads, beaches, mangroves etc. Why government officials do not care...puzzles me. It is so obvious something needs to be done.


Saturday 14th of October 2023

Let it burn, less to dump into the ocean.

Paul Morris

Friday 13th of October 2023

Why don’t you use the visa fee money to invest in the latest waste incinerator technology you can burn everything and create massive amounts of energy at the same time. Many countries around the world are using these incinerators to get rid of massive amounts of waste as per your photo and they do not create pollution , has to better than digging hoes to bury it.


Saturday 14th of October 2023

@Paul Morris, yes, this is the way. Contract a Singapore 🇸🇬 company, they will get it done.


Friday 13th of October 2023

@Paul Morris, You must be new here as you describe the obvious and logical?

The purpose of projects here different from what you think. Just have a good look at the rather new airport inside and you will notice how everything is built to rock bottom standard and is starting to fall apart. But trust me there was originally enough budget to build something nice and lasting. The 38 year old Soekarno Hatta airport in jakarta is holding up better than these new ones.

Denpasar has built 3 trash handling stations, sorting trash and burn the rest. They had to put an hold on the burning as the nearby residents went crazy due to the terrible foul odour. You see, no real experts consulted, budget leaks, substandard result.

To my experience the only way is international companies with real experts.