Our Trip to Bali & Plastic Pollution
For years, the Indonesian island Bali has been a popular tourist site for those craving a beach vacation or for those in need of a tropical getaway. It's also a popular spot for vegans due to its smoothie huts, vegan restaurants, holistic yoga retreats, natural approach to health, animal sanctuaries and wildlife. Now the island has been deemed a garbage emergency due to the overwhelming amount of waste and plastic surrounding the area, and in particular, covering it's beach fronts and polluting its waters. Due to the heartbreaking amount of plastic that has been washed up on the shores of the most popular Balinese beaches such as Kuta, or the levels of waste surrounding popular tourists sites such as the Aling Aling waterfall, the tourism industry has been deemed as endangered. In turn, forcing the Indonesian government to address the issue. However, the government's responses to the issue have fallen short, relying on small not for profit organizations to tackle the issue themselves.
We had the opportunity to go to Bali last summer and we were shocked by all of the garbage that we saw throughout our trip. Beaches were covered in plastic, garbage was flowing through the rivers, and the water in popular tourist spots was filthy. We were heartbroken when we saw such a beautiful island covered in waste.
Sam and I, feel as if it's our responsibility to care for the earth and all that is contained within it. Therefore, this is not an individual problem for Indonesia to solve. It's a global issue. We believe that awareness and education are forces of change, so we are going to share some facts about pollution in Indonesia and the small ways in which we can help.
Pollution and Indonesia:
- Indonesia is the second largest plastic marine polluter in the world.
- Mantas and whale sharks are in danger due to the consumption of microplastics.
- Limited knowledge of proper recycling practices across Bali and Indonesia and limited availability of municipal recycling facilities are some major causes of the pollution problem.
- Single-use plastics, an influx of tourism and lack of education are aggravating factors.
- Human health is threatened due to the toxins released in water sources and fish.
- This is not just a Balinese issue, in fact, Indonesian plastic pollution amounts to 16 % of the global total (River Plastic Emissions Study in Nature Communications)
How to Help:
- Avoid single use plastics when travelling.
- Avoid use of cosmetics which contain plastics such as face scrubs, cleansers or particular tooth pastes.
- Educate and raise awareness.
- Volunteer to clean up.
- Support non-profit organizations that are combatting the issue.
- Bring your own reusable coffee cups, canvas bags and water bottles.
- Bring a charcoal stick to purify water rather than buying water bottles (CRBN charcoal stick)