clean cliffs project bali
Bali’s Plastic Pollution Problem
Bali is one of Indonesia’s largest tourist destinations, with over five million people visiting per year, and is also considered one of the countries biggest polluters. According to the local media, 10,725 tons of plastic waste per day are going into Bali’s waters. This problem is not only threatening the marine life, but also the the tourism industry. The once beautiful beaches are now covered in rubbish taking away from Bali’s once pristine appeal.
Who and What is Affected
Plastic waste has a tremendous, detritus impact on the environment, locals, and tourist industry.
Ecosystem: Indonesia lies at the heart of the Coral Triangle and has the worlds highest levels of marine biodiversity. Bali’s rich coral reefs are the epicenter of this rich marine biodiversity. However, the coal reefs are littered with plastics threatening the ecosystems that support crucial fisheries and provide food security for millions. In fact, plastics have already entered the food chain and are already reaching local dinner plates.
Tourism: The very coral reefs that are being threatened by plastic pollution are the key tourist attraction in Bali. Trip Advisor once Identified Denser as the greatest tourist destination on earth, but the once pristine beaches in the tourism mecca are now littered with plastic. The Coordinating Minister for wartime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, went as far as to state that pollution ‘threatens to ruin’ the tourism industry.
Locals: Plastic pollution doesn’t just threaten the ecosystem and tourist industry, but the local people as well. For example, many locals income is made through the tourism industry and without it they will be left jobless. In addition, the lack of waste management is resulting in mountains of garbage on the island that pose environmental and health risks to the people.
Why is this happening?
The problem has been escalating in recent years as Bali has experienced the significant culture shock of modernization which has brought a rapid shift to life. Important industries such as waste management and recycling haven’t been able to keep up with this change. In fact, these industries are infant and in certain areas non-existent creating a waste management crisis. Thus, most of the population still lives by the old ways dealing with trash despite practicing modern consumerism. In addition, plastic packaging is considered modern and preferable to organic wrappers which is perceived as rustic and out of date. These attitudes, and lack of knowledge about recycling, have contributed to the plastic waste crisis.
The first step of the solution is raising awareness concerning this issue. One of the largest problems facing Bali is the lack of knowledge about plastic pollution and recycling. Cater Yudha Martini, an activist with Bali’s Environmental Education Center, says, “the point is that if you want to reduce plastic, this must be done by changing mindsets and behavior patterns.”
Spreading Awareness through Social Media
Indonesians are ranked one of the highest social media users in the world. Internet use is almost synonymous with social media use in Indonesia, according to February 2015 polling by Asosiasi Penyelenggara Jasa Internet Indonesia (APJII). Using social networks was the most common digital activity conducted in the country, and beat out browsing and searching for information by nearly 20 percentage points among internet users surveyed. the digital audience was about evenly split when it came to gender (51.0% female), there was a decided skew when it came to age. Just under half (49.0%) of the internet population in the country was between 18 and 25 years old, with another 33.8% ages 26 to 35. That means more than eight in ten internet users in Indonesia were under age 36. The youth of Indonesia’s internet population could be one reason for the popularity of social networks—not just in absolute terms, but in relation to other digital activities. Social network penetration is high in many countries with older internet populations, but other activities surpass or rival it. In Indonesia, meanwhile, only 25.4% of internet users report using email, making social networks more than three times as popular. And only 11.0% reported buying and selling online, making social networks nearly eight times as popular. The vast majority of internet users used a mobile phone to conduct their online activities. Fewer than one in three respondents went online via a laptop computer, and desktop or tablet access was even less common. By contrast, 85% of the internet population of Indonesia went online via mobile phone.
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Lukas Eglseder's vlogs of our Clean Cliffs Projet in Bali!
We had the honor of partnering with the R.O.L.E foundation while in Bali. Here are some picture from our time with them:
We also held clean ups and jumped with the locals!