The Bottle for Botol team were up bright and early on Sunday February 19 to participate in Bali’s Biggest Beach Clean Up. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and Hari Peduli Sampah (National Waste Day) we joined the One Island One Voice campaign started by Bye Bye Plastic Bags. The idea was to bring children, politicians, businesses, locals and expatriates together to show our love for Bali by cleaning its coastline and waterways. Volunteer organisers from twenty-one organisations coordinated each of the fifty-five locations, in just six weeks.
First we attended Batu Bolong, Legian and Uluwatu beaches. Batu Bolong lead the charge collecting 1.5 tons of rubbish! All of this was picked up by EcoBali Recycling, who specialise in turning tetra pak into roofing material. In Uluwatu, we joined Project Clean Uluwatu, Uluwatu Boardriders and local villagers to collect 70kg of trash.
Written by Alice Sainsbury, Masters of International Community Development
Between July and October 2016, I volunteered with a small social enterprise in Bali for the professional placement component of the Master of International Community Development at Victoria University. My connection to Bali, and love of the natural world, was the inspiration to enroll in the Master and undertaking the placement there was a clear choice. When I was a baby, my surfer father and I moved to Bali, returning to Australia in 1999 just after the Asian financial crisis hit Indonesia and in time for me to attend high school. I’ve read that home is not where you are born, but where all your attempts to escape cease. Bali has been incredibly special to me in this way, and as soon as I could afford it, I came back. I was aware of the pollution problem as a child, but it was not until I returned as an adult that I recognised the enormity. With every visit, the rubbish, the excessive use of plastic and apparent lack of waste management was getting worse and worse.
The environmental landscape in Bali, both physically and politically, has changed dramatically in the last 15 years. The widespread environmental problems are no secret to those who have visited its unique shores. Locals and visitors see the rubbish piling up in the streets, on beaches and riverbanks; they wade through it in the canals and swim surrounded by it in the ocean. It can be smelled burning all over the island, in remote and urban areas alike. Landfill sites are over capacity and Indonesia is the second largest contributor of plastic pollution in the oceans (Jambeck et al. 2015; Herder & Larsson 2012).
Written by Catherine Elliott, Dode Gargitha and Alice Sainsbury.