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Top Polluters Affecting Bali’s Tourist Beaches Revealed 

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Bali’s struggles with waste management are no secret. There are dozens of initiatives underway to help tackle the problem.

Yet, while the government, NGOs, and social impact enterprises work to create solutions, it seems that some companies keep contributing to the problem.

Plastic Waste Pollution on Bali Beach.jpg

Sungai Watch, one of the biggest environmental NGOs in Bali, has just released its 2023 Impact Report. The report outlines the outcomes of their work cleaning up Bali’s waterways over the last 12 months.

Removing plastic and trash from Bali’s rivers and beaches is only a small proportion of the work carried out by Sungai Watch. They also sort and process all the debris they collect.

This means that the organization has the opportunity to sort out and identify the companies that are the biggest contributors to Bali’s plastic waste crisis.

The Sungai Watch workflow follows five key steps. First is cleaning; the organization collects an average of 2.23 tonnes of non-organic waste per day across Bali’s waterways. 

The second step is to transport and sort all the water collected at one of the seven processing facilities around the island. Sungai Watch sorts the waste into 30 different material categories.

The third stage is to complete a brand audit. Sungai Watch’s team ‘analyze and record data to fuel conversation around plastic pollution with stakeholders.’

The fourth step is to prepare the materials for recycling. The final step in the workflow is the recycling stage.

Sungai Watch’s soon-to-be-launched sister organization, Sungai Design, will recycle everything from plastic bags to hard plastics, cups, sandals, and glass all in one place.

These materials will be used to make new products. Those materials that cannot be processed are gathered for mechanical recycling. 

Sungai Watch has revealed the top offenders in Bali for plastic pollution, according to their auditing process.

The organization wrote, “After auditing a sample size of 537,189 items of plastic collected from Indonesia’s rivers during 2023, we have identified these ten companies as Indonesia’s most polluting.”

The brand auditing process has revealed that Danone and the Aqua Cups they produce are the most frequently found plastic waste items in Bali, accounting for over 39,000 of the items audited.

Danone was closely followed in second place by Wings Surya, which produces consumables like shower gel, shampoo, skin care products, and washing-up liquids that are commonly sold in Indonesia as single-portion, single-use packages. 


Indofood came in third place, followed by Ultra Milk, the Orang Tua Group, and Unilever. In seventh place was Mayora, followed by Nestle, Coca-Cola, and Sinar Sosro.

All Bali lovers will be familiar with these brands and their best-selling products on the island.

Not only are they sold in every corner mart and market stall, but they are perhaps just as recognizable as litter on the edges of roads, in waterways, and on beaches. 

They say, “At Sungai Watch, we clean rivers every single day, and we realize that plastic pollution is not just a result of the products these companies are putting out into the world but that the responsibility also falls on governments and consumers.” 


Sungai Watch adds, “However, these companies need to be held accountable to better package their products and to own up to collecting their packaging out in the environment.”

Sungai Watch has not collected over one million kilograms of trash since it started out in 2020. They have installed over 260 trash barriers along Bali’s waterways and have become one of the most impactful environmental organizations in the province.

So much so that the Acting Governor of Bali, Sang Made Mahendra Jaya, recently went out with the clean-up team to see for himself the extent of the problem. 


The acting governor has pledged 50-70% of the first funds generated by the new Bali tourism tax will be spent on tackling the island’s waste management issues.

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Bali Beauty

Wednesday 21st of February 2024

The main thing that could help straight away would be to force the plastics to be made of clear bottles even the bottle top, it would be so much easier to recycle and more valuable. Government has to force extra taxes onto the plastic bottle manufacturers or make them to band together and build a recycle facility, the make the trash, they should be forced to pay to recycle it.

Jack Morri

Sunday 18th of February 2024

It’s all very well blaming the locals for dumping their trash and throwing it into the rivers and wanting to educate them but the elephant in the room is what do they do with their rubbish and trash when there is no infrastructure to deal with it.. they don’t have rubbish bins that get picked up every week by the local garbage collection like we are used to coming from our first world situation. Before plastic was introduced to the island the Balinese always disposed of their rubbish by throwing it into the rivers or burning it but at that time it was all organic and biodegradable. They used palm leaves and paper bags and reusable containers and bamboo packaging so environmentally there was not a problem and the environment was pristine..I know this first hand as my first visit to Bali was in 1976 when there was zilch plastic to be found and no telephone either.


Sunday 18th of February 2024

Where i live in washington state. Roosevelt land fill.. they capture the methane gas from the decaying garbage. And power generators then sell it to the power companies. Does Bali have anything like that?


Saturday 17th of February 2024

Its very simple 1.5 million rupiah fines for throwing any item of Rubbish.

The only way to educate ppl in Bali is to make them fear to loose money.

Every normal country has heavy fines for littering.

If they really want to stop ppl and make them think twice them there needs to be fines.

If they cant afford the community service cleaning up there trash and other peoples.

Time to fine fine fine..


Sunday 18th of February 2024

@Harry,in america they have people from jail clean the roads . Also start a program .where they are given fines .. ifnot able to pay. Then have community service program. No pay.. pick up trash. Here they tow along a out house. ( toilet) for convicts . It seems to work. Even give convicts. Time off their sentences. My wife an elementary teach . Always taught them recycle . And put in garbage bin.


Saturday 17th of February 2024

Until there is a massive national campaign to educate the citizenry about waste disposal, this will continue as usual while the useless politicians increase their salaries and bank accounts.