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Testing Finds Dangerous Bacteria At Bali’s Most Popular Beaches

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A Bali-based not-for-profit organization has been conducting water quality testing on two of Bali’s most popular tourist beaches.

The findings of the surveys have concluded that there is dangerous bacteria in the seawater at Seminyak’s Petitenget Beach and Canggu’s Batu Bolong Beach.

Seminyak Beach Bali.jpg

The Bali-based not-for-profit, Yayasan Bali Bersih, which is a trusted pattern of the Westerlaken Foundation in the Netherlands, has been conducting water quality surveys in Bali’s busiest coastal resorts. The findings are pretty shocking. 

Yayasan Bali Bersih (which means the Clean Bali Foundation) and Westerlaken Foundation have communicated their findings to the public via their Instagram channel.

The organizations regularly carry out routine water quality surveys in the form of seawater laboratory tests. 

The organization announced, “purpose of this examination is to determine whether or not there are Escherichia coli [e-coli] bacteria in seawater, which can disrupt marine ecosystems and potentially endanger the health of residents and beach visitors.”

So, what did they find? Based on water samples taken on June 21st, Yayasan Bali Bersih and the Westerlaken Foundation found that the seawater contains E-coli bacteria. 

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The researchers used the MPS (Most Probable Number Method) to determine the prevalence of E-coli in the water samples.

The findings suggest that due to the presence of the bubbles in the test tubes in the lab with an MPN of more than 1100.

This means E-coli is present, and the seawater at Seminyak’s Petitenget Beach and Canggu’s Batu Bolong Beach is contaminated. 

The presence of E-coli in any water source and food production is of great concern. The presence of E-coli suggests contamination by human waste, including human feces or domestic waste.

The high levels of E-coli found in the water samples last week nod to a risk of disease spreading through the human population due to the bacteria. 

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The researchers have said, “The results of this inspection will provide important information to the authorities and the public regarding the condition of clean sea water in Bali.”

They added, “By knowing the content of Escherichia coli in seawater, countermeasures and improvements can be taken to minimize health risks and maintain the sustainability of marine ecosystems.”


The announcement concluded by saying, “Yayasan Bali Bersih/Westerlaken Foundation is committed to continuing to carry out routine seawater laboratory tests and to run educational programs and environmental hygiene campaigns. By doing so, we hope to create clean, safe, and healthy beaches for all visitors and residents in Bali.”

The organizations conduct weekly water quality testing and have been doing so since January 2022. They focus on sample testing at Petitenget Beach and Mertasari Beach.

The results of each weekly sample test are published on the Westerlaken Foundation website in part so that the public may make informed decisions about the activities they choose to participate in at Bali’s most popular beaches. 


The presence of e-coli in the seawater does not just have an impact on tourists’ decision to swim or surf in the water.

The studies conducted by the organizations also “aim to raise awareness about the potential impacts of poor water quality on marine life and, subsequently, on human health, particularly for those who consume marine food.”

It should be noted that the research into seawater quality has been formally permitted by the government.

This research has also been permitted by the Indonesian government through research permit number B.30.070/685.E/IZIN-C/DPMPTSP.


So, what are the possible impacts of E-coli contamination on human health?

It is worth noting that E-coli is a perfectly common form of bacteria that is found in the human gut and the gut of some animal species.

The are many types E-coli, most of which do not cause us any harm at all. However, there are some types of E-coli that are known to be the cause of food poisoning, pneumonia, and even urinary tract infections. 

According to WebMD, 75% to 95% of urinary tract infections are caused by E-coli.

If you suspect you have contracted E-coli poisoning, it is advisable to seek medical attention as quickly as possible. 

Neither Yayasan Bali Bersih, Westerlaken Foundation, nor the local government has issued advice regarding whether or not it is safe to enter the water, simply that high levels of E-coli is present in the seawaters off Seminyak’s Petitenget Beach and Canggu’s Batu Bolong Beach.

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Saturday 1st of July 2023

Reading all the comments (complaints?) it's obvious there's a problem which will only get worse. For complaints to have meaningful validity they should perhaps have suggestions or thoughts on how the the problem could be solved or alleviated. Otherwise they're just whinges.

J West

Thursday 29th of June 2023

Of course the water closest to the beachfront is thick with E-Coli . This bacteria is only found in raw untreated sewage . It flows from the hotels and businesses and down the ravines from villages who all dump raw waste into the streams, gutters and poorly engineered pipes that outflow just meters into the ocean. If I missed the modern sewage treatment facilities …. hahahaha, excuse me. Another E Coli hot spot is your hotel and beach club swimming pools where all the unwashed goons float. You’re swimming/lounging in pee and poo friends, lots of it. And cruise ship pools, don’t get me started.


Wednesday 28th of June 2023

This is gross. We just returned from our first trip to Bali. We all got sick.

The areas are beautiful in some parts but it is dirty, overcrowded in parts and overrated. Never again.

There are many other amazing places to go in South East Asia. I don't need Bali's bacterial outbreaks, bad traffic,taxi scams and local "taxes" that are demanded when travelling through some areas.


Wednesday 28th of June 2023

For me, this news is not a problem, I always suspected it anyway. When I feel like swimming in the sea, I fly to Thailand or Boracay. It is not only the sea water, also the "normal" water from wells and the public network, which is polluted and sometimes stinks of feces.Install a 3$ water filter in your shower in the bathroom and you will be surprised after a few days by the change in color. The water problem is only one among many others. Bali is becoming a "bad mood" island!


Friday 30th of June 2023

@Ganivet, Whenever I feel like swimming I fly in my private jet to the Maldives.

Wayan Bo

Tuesday 27th of June 2023

Take bath in own toilet bowl because then is known to whom bacterias belong.