Wildfires and landfill fires continue to burn across Bali. Wildfires in the mountainous regions of East Bali have been blazing since mid-September.
On the 16th of October, a fire broke out at the Suwung TPA in South Denpasar close to leading tourist resorts. As the fire smolders on, more landfill fires have broken out in key tourist destinations.
Firefighting crews on Nusa Lembongan responded to an emergency call out to the Jungut Batu TPA landfill in the early hours of Wednesday 25th October.
The Head of the Klungkung Police and Fire Department, Dewa Putu Suwarbawa, confirmed that fire crews were supported by the local army post, police, and community members.
@infobali.viral TPA JUNGUTBATU, NUSA PENIDA TERBAKAR TPA Jungutbatu, di Pulau Lembongan, Kecamatan Nusa Penida terbakar, Selasa (24/10/2023) malam. Upaya pemadaman api sulit dilakukan, karena di wilayah Pulau Lembongan tidak tersedia armada pemadaman kebakaran. "TPA di Jungutbatu terbakar," ungkap Perbekel Desa Jungutbatu, I Made Gede Suryawan, Selasa (24/10/2023) malam. Ia mengungkapkan, kebakaran tersebut terjadi sekitar pukul 17.00 Wita. Namun semakin malam, api semakin berkobar membakar sampah di TPA tersebut. Sementara upaya pemadaman api sulit dilakukan, mengingat di wilayah Pulau Lembongan dan Ceningan selama ini belum tersedia armada pemadam kebakaran. 🎥@koranbaliexpress Sumber: Tribun Bali #infobaliviral #nusapenida #jungutbatu #tpajungutbatu #kebakaran #lembongan #kebakarantpa #tpa #fyp ♬ suara asli – Tu Pande 273
Firefighting crews arrived on the scene at 7.30 pm and were able to deploy hoses across the site, including calling on the equipment available at the nearby tourist hangout at Agung Beach Club.
The fire crew had no option but to use seawater to battle the blaze since Nusa Lembongan, like much of Bali province, is in drought.
The Jungut Batu TPA landfill is just 1.9km from one of Nusa Lembongan’s most popular beaches, Jungut Batu Beach, which is famous for its boutique accommodation and laid-back beach cafes.
Suwarbawa told reporters, “The flames have been extinguished but the process of cooling and decomposing the waste is still being carried out. Currently, cooling has only reached 25 percent, while the waste decomposition already covers one hectare.”
It has not been confirmed how the fire started, though the last three landfill fires that are still smoldering away on the main island of Bali show that these sites are tinderboxes ready to burn. 70-80% of the waste at these sites is thought to be organic.
This means as the organic waste decomposes between the inorganic substances under the heat of the tropics, with over 100 days without rain, the methane trapped beneath a dry surface layer provides perfect conditions for a fire to take hold.
@listenseemedia Selamat datang di tempat pembuangan sampah terbaru Bali yang terletak di Desa Kelating, Tabanan. Karena tempat pembuangan sampah Bali terus terbakar, Bali telah memutuskan untuk mengubah sawah ini menjadi tempat pembuangan sampah terbuka. 📸 garybencheghib #listensee #Berita #beritaterkini ##sampah #bali #fyp #fypdongggggggggシ ♬ suara asli – ListenSeeMedia
As fires at Suwung TPA, just 7.5km from Kuta Beach, continue to blaze, and the smoke from the Mandung TPA shoulders on, waste is piling up across the island at an alarming rate.
Suwung TPA typically takes in more than 200 truckloads of waste every day, and Mandung TPA is the second largest.
Since the fires broke out, no new waste has been permitted to be deposited, and both government and privately managed recycling facilities are at capacity or unable to process waste usually destined directly for landfill.
In light of impending catastrophic levels of waste on the streets of Bali, I Ketut Adi Wiguna, Head of the Waste and B3 Waste Management Division, has asked the public to be patient.
The authorities in Denpasar have been working to redirect waste to Kelating TPA in Tabanan and the Temesi TPA in Gianyar.
These two landfills each have their limitations both in terms of waste tonnage and disposal time. Temesi TPA in Gianyar, not far from Ubud, was also ablaze last week.
Footage circulating on citizen journalism social media accounts shows trash trucks backing up at key intersections across the island.
The authorities have alluded that the smoldering fires could continue to billow smoke for upwards of two weeks, and the next impactful rains are predicted to arrive in Bali by the end of the year.
This situation will continue to develop over the coming weeks, and although leaders are asking for patience, both local residents and tourists are becoming increasingly concerned.
On Denpasar resident who wished to remain anonymous told reporters, “It’s annoying and smelly. Before Friday, the rubbish from my shop was regularly picked up every day.”
He added that what made the situation worse was that unknown people had left piled up rubbish in front of his shop.
This is something that is being reported all too frequently now. CCTV footage has shown people dumping trash bags into rivers and over the sides of bridges as a result of local trash collection being out of operation.
As the fires linger on, tourists are advised to keep up to date with the latest air quality measures and take health and safety precautions as they see fit, such as reducing activities outdoors and wearing a mask.
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