Bali’s dirty little secret: Garbage season has arrived


Every day thousands of people have to clean up Bali’s beaches to make them presentable. Source: Shutterstock

BALI is normally associated with palm-fringed beaches, enticing glistening waters and a tranquil atmosphere that allows visitors to maximize their chill-time.

But for one-third of the year, a huge amount of the ocean’s rubbish makes a pilgrimage to Bali’s shores and the consequences are devastating to local businesses and visitors who want nothing more than to relax on the white beaches.

Between December and March, the tides around the island change, resulting in a mass dumping of trash from the ocean.

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Thousands of tonnes of mainly plastic debris are washed up onto the beaches while a huge amount still swirls around in the sea, deterring swimmers and sunbathers.

It is mostly left to local business owners and sometimes even tourists to clean up this mess.

“This is so disturbing for workers around here and of course for tourists,” Wayan Suadiana, who is part of the Housekeeping Workers Association of Legian Hotels told ABC News.

Legain is a suburban and beach area on the west coast of Bali, just north of Juta and South of Seminyak. The area is home to some of Bali’s most luxurious beachfront hotels.

Each morning, over 100 workers from the association are sent out onto the beach to join the thousands of volunteers that clean up the 20km stretch of usually pristine beach.

“I’ve been here for 10 years, but every January, February and March, you see it getting worse” long-term resident Kino told ABC News.

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While Bali is often dubbed a paradise island, the current state of the beaches have become a poster-child for the nation’s growing trash problem.

“Garbage is aesthetically disturbing to tourists, but plastic waste issue is way more serious,” Putu Eka Merthawan, from the local environment agency told Agence France-Presse.

He said:

“The Bali government should spare more budget to raise people’s awareness to take care of local rivers, not to dump waste.”

However, Bali is part of the UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaigns, which aims to halt the rise of plastic trash polluting the oceans.