Bali. Why is it a dirty hole.

Roadkill's picture
Roadkill started the topic in Sunday, 12 May 2019 at 1:28pm

Why can’t Indonesians/Balinese clean up? Now, I get it that so much of the rubbish comes via the Oceans from other countries lazy attitudes to cleaning up but I don’t get why locals don’t see the mess and cleanup. Bali is not alone in this. We, in the West contribute so much and need to do better....but I still can’t work out why locals don’t clean up. Call me a privileged westerner looking down at the Indos if you want but the cleanup should start at your/my local area...which I do.
Be interested in others thoughts..I ask this question as I know an Aussie going over for the WSL event and is building some sort of something out of rubbish with the WSL to raise awareness...which is kind of funny as the WSL and the pros are a bunch of hypocrites (carbon miles etc etc) thinking cardboard straws are the answer.

Supafreak's picture
Supafreak's picture
Supafreak commented Sunday, 12 May 2019 at 7:25pm

Have you ever heard of the banana leaf mentality ? It comes from before indonesia was westernised they led a simple life with no plastic and very little material wealth. Food was served on a banana leaf and when finished you simply dropped it on the ground, being organic it didn’t matter. With little sometimes no education on environmental matters of today many indonesians still live with the banana leaf mentality particularly those that live in remote regions. My wife is balinese and her family village is along way from anywhere, extremely poor area that your average kuta touring bogan would be shocked to see people living in such conditions. The road that runs past the school is covered in plastic water bottles and other rubbish . With no running water from taps plastic bottles is their only supply. With no education on how to dispose of rubbish it’s usually dropped when finished with and burned when the build up gets to much. There is many organisations trying to clean up Bali and they have a huge job ahead . Government education is badly needed and l can’t understand why they don’t introduce a refund scheme like Australia has. It would do 2 things, clean the place up and give the poor and unemployed some money as there’s no dole office in bali. The government has dragged its feet for too long on this issue and tourism will be affected if they don’t get their act together. On the news it was announced that a $14 tax for tourists will be introduced to help solve the problem. Its a problem with solutions but it’s going to take time education and everyone working together so it won’t be easy. I stopped fishing 2 years ago in bali due to tired of jagging plastic and moved back to Australia. Still go for holidays and visit wifes family hoping to see change in the coming years.

sypkan's picture
sypkan's picture
sypkan commented Sunday, 12 May 2019 at 11:05pm

I'd say a better question would be how have the balinese done such a good job cleaning up their act in such a short time?

It used to be much worse.

Considering the compounding numbers of tourists year on year and the western influences combined with points above means they're doing alright.

Question to you roadkill. What would you do with the mounds of rubbish your household no doubt creates week after week if no one came to collect it?

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Monday, 13 May 2019 at 8:32am

Supafreak summed up much of the issue, but there is more.

Obviously not just a Bali issue even an Indonesian issue it's a developing country issue.

And developing countries are developing countries because they lack all the progress of a developed country.

Basically two main problems

1. Inadequate rubbish removal system to deal with the issue and even where there is rubbish removal, there is areas down gang's (small lanes/alleys where people live normally only wide enough for motobikes) where services dont reach, many people in these areas, have to go to real effort to bring to a main roads can be some distance away from a decent sized road/alley,so often they must burn if spare land/space nearby, or sadly if a river or big wide open drain is closer, is into the drain, that goes into a river, that eventually goes to the ocean.

In other areas especially country areas huge number of areas dont have a rubbish removal service due to funding, in these areas the people have no choice, its either burn, pile up or if a river dump in the river and let it be someone else's problem, same deal with those on small islands.

I have property in Indonesia with no rubbish service and no access to a rubbish disposal site and have the same issue when there, what to do with the rubbish?...my best only choice is to burn anything and everything, if i dont it will just blow away and make a mess.

Same deal with surf camps/resorts in most places like Mentawais etc, they have two options burn and bury or send back to mainland at a cost where it gets burnt and buried.

2. The main problem really is lack of funding due to lack of government income, a huge percentage of people that work don't pay tax, millions of Indonesians don't even have a bank account so a huge cash economy (but all these people still need things like rubbish removal)

Then you have a country that has other areas that need huge funding, like road networks and public transport as its never been planned roads have just developed over time, this area is getting addressed, some big developments all over Indonesia with freeway toll roads, countless new airports, new ports, new

Then you have all these very important areas that need funding and development, health, education etc...so when people are still dying of preventable disease or high levels of women dying from childbirth complication due to lack of access or affordable medical care, then it's natural this issues is towards the bottom of the priority of spending.

Add to that you have high levels of corruption, this might surprise people but this area is getting better in many areas, it's getting harder in government departments.

All that said current government and even SBY have made great progress in all these areas and even the issue of pollution/waste is getting better.

Plastic bags have been banned or restricted in many areas if Indonesia (i read also Bali) and just general education of this issue, I've seen community clean ups and schools doing clean ups sand signs and programs educating people. (also been huge clean ups of river systems etc by government)

I dont expect huge change overnight, but i think the attitudes of next generation in generally are getting better and its good to see that government is also doing things.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/bali-bans-single-use-plastics-...

Supafreak's picture
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Supafreak commented Monday, 13 May 2019 at 8:50am

What l also don’t understand is the Bali government put up for tender the running operation of the serangen rubbish dump . A german company wanted to take over and stated rubbish could be turned into energy and with Indonesian current and future power problems l can’t understand why this technology hasn’t been adopted. Some European countries have this and it works. If its a case of money then the powers that be need to be persuaded that this is the future. SBY is a good president, the best l believe they have had so here’s hoping things change under his leadership

GuySmiley's picture
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GuySmiley commented Monday, 13 May 2019 at 9:01am

if I accept all the very plausible reasons above, why do I fill a bag full of rubbish discarded from fishers on a local pier every time I visit there? Tiny plastic bags, discarded line, bottles, cans etc. we live in a first world country and fishers who rely on the natural environment disregard it so badly. Surely a big part of the problem everywhere is people being too lazy, not giving a fuck and letting others take the responsibility to clean up? It starts with personal responsibility surely.

chin's picture
chin's picture
chin commented Monday, 13 May 2019 at 10:20am

Poor fella my Bali
A small rural island now inundated with mega hotels and resorts for rich people, and most of the money pouring out to of the island. Balinese haven’t had much say in any of it.
Meanwhile China stopped taking our garbage, but Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia have picked up the slack, relax.
https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/60-minutes-exposes-the-sh...

sypkan's picture
sypkan's picture
sypkan commented Monday, 13 May 2019 at 10:57am

You're right guysmiley. Fishos- not all - are shockers. I'd suggest though that the fact you can pick up a bag of rubbish and put it in the council bin as you leave the beach shows just how easy it is for us to clean up. Indonesia with practically no council bins is different - so what do you do? Carry the rubbish home only to burn it? Not likely...

Also in our first world wonderland, you go down just about any isolated road or track, and you see piles of building waste, plastic bags, car tyres. Which shows what we do if we have to pay for rubbish disposal. One could argue we pay taxes to dump rubbish, and once upon a time council tips were affordable, but that's a different argument about neo-liberalism and user pays systems.

re. indod's post above there are some 'eco resort' type stuff throughout the islands that have large holes full of rubbish hidden down the back out of sight, luckily for them not many guests wander far from the bar or the beach. Having said that, I know of one eco resort where the owner deals with his rubbish in a very responsible manner, taking much to the mainland for recycling. And even taking large dead batteries back to europe in his luggage because the indo's don't offer suitable waste practices, if only others were this diligent. Onya guchey and kita surf resort!

You're right indod things are getting much better, and despite the tokenism of much of the bule driven beach clean ups, they are educating and changing attitudes slowly. Culture is a stubborn beast, much like U turning an oil tanker, but they are getting there.

It's actually jokowi who's the current president, and yes many would argue the best they've ever had, who followed SBY, who was also very good despite the unecessary attacks from the grubbyest parts of australian media.

Indonesia is really coming along in leaps and bounds. Its easy to get caught up in bagging the place, but it is essentially still a third world country with a bali bubble. Westerners get caught in this bali bubble as they are surrounded by some of the most progressive thinking and technology available making it seem unbeleivable that they cannot do something as basic as clean up rubbish. Bali is basically tiny gold coast enclaves deposited into select parts of an area like greater mumbai or jakarta.

Its fair to raise criticism when you look at all the hotels and super expensive resorts everwhere, but even these have only really been around the last ten years or so, they were pretty sparsely dispersed prior to that.

Development is a process. Unfortunatly many developing countries missed the crucial steps of clean drinking water and rubbish collection that many european cities learnt to deal with in the 1800s. Now these two problems have combined compounding the problem big time. Now with technology and wealth only widening the inequality within these countries, it'll still be a long time before these issues are addressd adequately.

So get over it princesses...and pick up a bit of plastic whenever you can...

sypkan's picture
sypkan's picture
sypkan commented Monday, 13 May 2019 at 11:07am

"Meanwhile China stopped taking our garbage, but Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia have picked up the slack, relax."

Is this not the most disgraceful environmental vandalism in the modern world?

Transporting rubbish to developing countries for processing (burning CO2 all the way). And the righteous wonder why people have lost faith in any government to address climate change and the wider environmental problems associated with globalisation.

This is market driven 'solutions' to waste problems in a globalised world.

Fucking disgraceful

Supafreak's picture
Supafreak's picture
Supafreak commented Monday, 13 May 2019 at 12:15pm

My mistake l thought joko was sby so l was referring to joko as a good president

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Monday, 13 May 2019 at 3:32pm

@Guy

100% there is still a factor of laziness and just lack of education, it's almost culturally like Supafreak pointed out " Banana leaf mentality" or even just a mentality that it doesn't matter what's one little bit more going to do kind of attitude.

Especially among older generations and especially among less educated lower class, which in Indonesia fishermen fall into.

But you do also see just ordinary people men, women children just throw rubbish on the ground, you even see it on ferries people dropping whole bags in the water and 10 metres away there is a bin.

But i still believe there is some positive changes happening especially among the younger generation just a change of attitude and awareness, similar to what we saw here in Australia in the 80s.

Even just that video the other month of a charter boat staff throwing rubbish in the river, the fact the media reported it and it got attention on Indonesian social media was good in the fact people just didn't go, so?...so what if they throw rubbish in the river...IMHO that was a good sign of changing attitudes.

BTW. I remember when i was first dating my wife and we were in her hometown and out and about, i had boardies on with no pockets and we were eating something like ice cream or something, and we were walking, no bins in sight at all, and i had this wrapper that i was holding onto it until i found a bin and she thought i was crazy, she had thrown hers on the ground as had her mother and they couldn't understand why i would bother holding onto it until i got to a bin.

Now my wife would never dream of dropping rubbish even when back in Indonesia, even her parents won't drop rubbish now and they will put the wrapper in their bag or pocket until find a bin. (but in this case, i think its just a change from her living in Oz ad influencing parents)

Unpredictable's picture
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Unpredictable commented Sunday, 19 May 2019 at 12:24pm

-But i still believe there is some positive changes happening especially among the younger generation just a change of attitude and awareness, similar to what we saw here in Australia in the 80s.-

This is worth remembering, was only a couple of generations ago that Australians threw their travel snack packets (and beer bottles) out the window on the highway on road trips, the inner city waterways were choked with rubbish, people burned plastic in backyard furnaces and abandoned lots turned into local tips. There is nothing inherent in Australian culture that makes us clean up after ourselves, it took a concerted and sustained effort to change people's behaviour.

Ash's picture
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Ash commented Sunday, 19 May 2019 at 2:20pm

A quick digression.
I miss the back yard incinerator, all wrong I know so don't bother correcting me, but as a kid the Sat, Sunday arvos spent burning "stuff" was a good way of killing a slow day. It was the norm in every suburban backyard and everything at some stage got taken to the incinerator to see if it burnt, even PU blank off cuts, which was not a good thing and I only did it once. Cracker night was the penultimate night of the year for all things pyro at that time ( mid 60's to mid 70's ) including the mandatory bonfire, pure magic for kids.

linez's picture
linez's picture
linez commented Sunday, 19 May 2019 at 4:13pm

Hence the name Ash?

Jokes..

Ash's picture
Ash's picture
Ash commented Sunday, 19 May 2019 at 4:38pm

That's good.
I like it, cheers

Twichy's picture
Twichy's picture
Twichy commented Monday, 20 May 2019 at 6:44pm

Yep.
The only thing that didnt burn were egg shells.

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Monday, 20 May 2019 at 8:21pm

Twitchy

Your post brought back forgotten memories of our back yard incinerator, loved it as a kid not just the fire that i was always told to stay away from, but I remember as a kid sifting through the ash for anything not burnt, from memory it was half burnt metal toothpaste tubes that were normally the only thing remaining.

I remember mum always being pissed off that the neighbour would start his up just after she put the washing on the line, never understood the fuss at the time, but thinking about it now, that must have really sucked.

And cracker night (Guyfawks night), pity kids don't get to experience that these days, as a kid it was up there with Xmas, easter and birthdays.

stylemaster1970's picture
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stylemaster1970 commented Tuesday, 21 May 2019 at 7:45am

I was surfing Lacerations a few weeks back and witnessed a young local kid pick up a floating bottle and put it down the back of his rashie. The younger generation want change, We are a non straw family but I also noticed a lot of paper and metal straws,Change is a comin'.

If you argue with a fool long enough you will loose sight of who the fool really is........

eat-your-vegies's picture
eat-your-vegies's picture
eat-your-vegies commented Tuesday, 21 May 2019 at 11:02am

About 20 years ago I grabbed some plastic bags floating past and chucked them down my rashy just to clean them up.
There were that many sea lice that my chest erupted in bites for a week.
Will never do that again.
I just pick it up off the beach now.

Ash's picture
Ash's picture
Ash commented Tuesday, 21 May 2019 at 11:05am

Same here, paper straws at most places we went and rubbish bagged or piled awaiting either pick up or burning. It took us here decades to clean up our act, even now the plastic bag debate rages on in Qld and NSW, while here in SA it's the norm to take our own shopping bags to the supermarket and to recycle our waste for a refund.

Andybox's picture
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Andybox commented Tuesday, 21 May 2019 at 1:00pm

Just back from a few weeks in Bali with the missus. Almost all the warungs, restaurants, bars etc have paper straws or no straws at all. The missus bought her own bag for shopping, no plastic bags getting handed out by the stalls. Quite a few people collecting both empty beer and water bottles, must be some money to be made by doing this.
An army of cleaners descend on the Kuta-Legian beach strip to clean it everyday, but the plastic coming down from Java is still a problem.
The Javanese in Bali are getting quite aggressive in their tactics to sell you stuff, grabbing your arm as you walk by and even the odd bit of abuse. Many of the Balinese I spoke to complained about the Javanese ruining the vibe of Kuta etc, and this trip I tend to agree with them. We resorted to supporting the locals by eating and spending money at Balinese run establishments.

Things obviously change over time and my observations concluded that the rubbish issue is improving. More bins around Kuta and elsewhere, rubbish trucks frequently emptying the bins and plastic bags and straws almost non existent.

Supafreak's picture
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Supafreak commented Tuesday, 21 May 2019 at 1:58pm

Hi style master , good to hear about your experience at lasso’s ,the local board riding club LST really leads the way and sets a great example by doing regular beach and mangrove clean ups , usually every Sunday. They have a great club and are steered by Wayan Lena who loves his island and the environment around it. Through education this club understands the importance of the environment to their own survival , diving , fishing and surfing are of major importance to this islands economy and this is the big difference between educated and uneducated locals.l have visited and lived on and off this island for near 39 years and have seen the changes first hand. They have been recycling on this island for at least 15 years maybe longer. The waters that surround this small island are fast flowing and treacherous to the uninitiated, they also have some spectacular diving with crystal clear water. This changes every wet season with rubbish blowing and flowing in fro every direction hence the weekly cleanups by Lembongan Surf Team. There are many movements happening in Bali to clean it up and l see Nev Hyman is also on the scene at Kremas with his plastic housing scheme which is a brilliant idea,they also trialed putting plastic in the bitumen mix on roads in jimbaran . The future with a combined effort looks promising Balinese people when United can do anything.

indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 21 May 2019 at 5:15pm

Quite a few groups of Indonesian surfers that get together and do beach clean ups, i know they do it down Pacitian, and also up in Mentawais the locals grommets have a board riders club and also do beach clean ups.