'Rubbish Season': Bali Beaches Covered in Plastic Pollution

Published January 19th, 2021 - 08:28 GMT
AFP
AFP
Highlights
The tourist beaches of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak are among those covered in washed-up plastic waste

'Rubbish season' is underway in Bali as plastic covers the country's beaches in what is now becoming an annual event attributed to ocean pollution and monsoons. 

The tourist beaches of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak are among those being flooded with up to 60 tonnes of plastic rubbish every day. 

The problem at its worst from December to March each year, where seasonal winds and heavy rain wash up plastic pollution that is typically carried out to sea after falling into Indonesian waterways back on to the beaches.  

Plastic pollution from other countries also plays a role, but Dr. Denise Hardesty, a specialist plastic pollution researcher from Australia, said that most of the waste had likely not traveled far.

Images show fishermen at work on a beach covered in plastic waste, at a fishing village in Kedonganan. 

Other images show people walking along Kuta beach as it is covered in plastic waste.

The trash was loaded by the workers onto trucks and taken to a landfill site. 

Wayan Puja from the Badung area's environment and sanitation agency said teams had been working hard to try and clear the rubbish. 

'We have been working really hard to clean up the beaches, however, the trash keeps coming,' he said, as quoted by The Guardian

'Every day we deploy our personnel, trucks and loaders.' 

In April 2020, the Indonesian government launched an environmental plan to dramatically reduce plastic waste in the country, with the aim of cutting ocean plastic waste by 70% by 2025, and to go plastic pollution-free by 2040. 

Principal research scientist at Australia's CSIRO science agency Dr. Denise Hardesty said it was no wonder the plastic was washing up on Bali's beaches year on year. 

'It's not new and it's not surprising and it happens every year, and it's been growing over the last decade,' she said. 

Hardesty said it was likely the rubbish had not traveled far, with the country's southwest beaches tending to pick up rubbish when monsoonal rains and winds blow each year from west to east.  

According to Hardesty, the increasing amount of plastic washing up on the tourist beaches was reflective of the global rise in the production of plastic.

Indonesia is among the worst contributors to plastic pollution, with 200,000 tonnes of plastic washing into the ocean, according to a study published by the journal Nature Communications in 2017. 

Despite the rise in plastic pollution, this year there are fewer people around to witness the washed-up rubbish since Bali remains closed-off to international tourists and its popular beaches lie empty. 

Thousands of Australian tourists would normally be in Bali over the summer holiday period but the coronavirus pandemic has halted overseas travel.

Indonesia closed its international borders in April, which crippled the Balinese economy - normally almost entirely dependent on foreign tourism.

Businesses reopened to Bali locals in July after a three-month hiatus.

Kuta has transformed from a bustling tourist mecca into a deserted ghost town, forcing accommodation operators to rethink their survival strategy and slash prices.

This article has been adapted from its original source


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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