Swimming among Bali's plastic tide

Stu Nettle

"If Bali doesn't #Dosomething serious about this pollution it'll be impossible to surf here in a few years. Worst I've ever seen". - Kelly Slater on Twitter.

There are two seasons on Bali and they’re not the ones you know of - the wet season and the dry season. The popular island can now split its calendar into the tourist season and the trash season (Yes, I know, ‘rubbish season’ but alliteration trumps patriotism here).

From April to November the south-west swells are unrelenting, and the south-east trades blow each day making for groomed perfection on Bali’s southern reef breaks. And it’s not only surfers who flock there; the clear weather and lack of rain also attract hordes of non-surfing tourists to Bali during those months.

However, from December to March the winds reverse blowing from Java towards Bali, heavy rainfall swells the rivers, and each day the Balinese wake to tonnes of plastic debris on their beaches.

Four Javanese rivers are listed in the global top 20 of plastic-polluted waterways. Yet not all the blame can be shifted to Bali’s next door neighbour; coming down Bali’s rivers are single-use plastic cups, food packaging, and plastic bottles.

(Zak Noyle)

Indonesia is one of the world's worst contributors of plastic pollution into the ocean, with an estimated 200,000 tonnes of plastic washing into the ocean each year. That equates to 16% of the global total according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications. By comparison Indonesia comprises just 3% of the world’s population.

The gross disproportion is a structural problem. Single-use plastic is now a part of daily life in Indonesia, yet there’s no infrastructure to deal with it, no bins, recycling or waste removal, nor education campaigns to attack the root cause of the problem. And all efforts to tackle it have fizzled out.

In December 2014, the governor of Bali announced that the island would be “plastic bag free by 2018”. But follow-up action has been slow, partly due to confusion about which level of government should act first.

In 2016, the Indonesian government tried to reduce plastic use by introducing a tax of Rp 200 (2 cents) on single-use plastic bags. Critics lamented the additional charge was not high enough and that there should be more transparency in how the tax revenue would be used. Six months after its introduction, the Indonesian retailers association decided to stop the program altogether, citing lack of legal grounds to charge the bags.

In March last year the Indonesian government pledged to spend up to $1 billion a year to clean up its seas. Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister for maritime affairs in Indonesia, spoke at a World Oceans Summit - held on Bali - and said the country would seek to reduce plastic pollution by 75 per cent by 2025. However, earlier efforts don't instill confidence.

Meanwhile, the rubbish builds up on Bali’s beaches during the wet months. Without government intervention the problem shifts to the tourist industry. Without clean beaches they’re the ones who will suffer financially.

And so each morning teams such as the Housekeeping Workers Association of Legian Hotels fan out across the beaches from Kuta to Seminyak. The Association sends out 100 workers per day who join many other volunteers on a job that is never fully done. Not, at least, till the dry season begins once more, the rivers subside and the south-east winds blow the plastic back to Java again.


donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 1:11pm

A fcking disgrace and anyone who goes to Bali and drinks from a plastic water bottle is contributing to this mess, whether they believe they are or not. What doesn't end up in the ocean the Balinese burn!!!

uberMick's picture
uberMick's picture
uberMick commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 10:29pm

Hey crew, you wont see Don leave his hotel room, because he refuses to drink bottled water, he had to drink tap water instead, and now has a chronic case of the squirts... Jeez mate, I get consumer habits play a big role, but when theres zero alternatives, your kinda takin the piss arent ya? Open your eyes, look around the world, every single country whose government is actively tackling the problem, and yielding better results. Now look at Indo's government, these blokes are sitting on their hands, bickering over what department should make the first big move. Dont point your finger at the tourists when theres no other option, point your finger at the government, the usual suspects when s###s going south.

Vic Local's picture
Vic Local's picture
Vic Local commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 9:12pm

"but when theres(sic) zero alternatives (to plastic bottles), your (sic) kinda (sic) takin(sic) the piss arent(sic) ya(sic)?"
But there are alternatives uberMick. Take your own water bottle and stay at places with the big 40 litre tubs. They are everywhere. How about taking some responsibility for yourself rather than impotently pissing and moaning at something you have no control over?

"angry online, smiley in the brine"

quokka's picture
quokka's picture
quokka commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 1:23pm

Yep Bali has turned into a filthy shithole.

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 11:33pm

We are a filthy shithole, you damned fool.

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 1:28pm

I just do not understand this and other expressions of human's disconnection from the natural world. Is the struggle to survive just so depressingly great that who gives a fuck reigns supreme or is it sheer ignorance?

There is just so many aspects to this I struggle with and especially in parts of the world that claim to be culturally proud/strong.

I remember Zenagain telling how the Japanese dump household rubbish on the roads and how the revered Mount Fuji is covered in litter.

We really haven't progressed very far have we.

rooftop's picture
rooftop's picture
rooftop commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 1:27pm

Went to Bali ten years ago and once was enough. In fact, it was too much. To enjoy it I would have to be selectively blind to mass poverty, pollution, exploitation and that plastic bag - or was it a nappy? - that I just stuck my hand into while paddling out. Eugh......

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 1:55pm

I don't blame the locals so much. I blame the western world for introducing plastic to countries like Indonesia and not educating them on how to dispose of it or recycle it.

You have to remember that no so long ago, countries like Indo only used banana leafs etc for plates etc, so they're completely used to just throwing the plate (banana leaf) away after they're finished with it.

My very first boat trip to the Maldives some 18 years ago I woke early one morning and went up on deck to see the local deckie tipping over all of our rubbish (plastic, cans etc etc) overboard. I asked him why he did that and his response was......it's what we've always done with our rubbish, throw it in the ocean and it goes away. When their rubbish used to be organic this was more than fine. They haven't been educated/told you can't do that with non-organic rubbish.

dewhurst's picture
dewhurst's picture
dewhurst commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 2:12pm

That's a good point Don. I hadn't thought of that.

gnomen's picture
gnomen's picture
gnomen commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 2:30pm

I Agree Don, its not so much the locals, its a calamity of situations, us loving the place to death, the infrastructure of a 3rd world trying to cope with a first world problem and corruption. Any money earmarked for services to be improved gets progressively skimmed by all the hands/departments it goes thru. We are the answer, after all we have contributed to over there, we should be part of the solution.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 3:48pm

Do you blame the West for all the dynamite fishing?
Velocitybro got to see a group of people from this area attempting to drag net the width of the lower Canning, stripping this metropolitan waterway of all life to the depth of the net.
Maybe it's culture and this other culture is like the Honey Badger.
All the more distressing when one considers the profound animist religions of this area, which are a beacon of light in an increasingly crowded world.

mantown's picture
mantown's picture
mantown commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 6:06pm

I went to Savaii, Samoa in the year 2000 and saw banana crops 'composted' with plastic waste, they thought it would decompose.... They were pretty late to the petroleum party.

amb's picture
amb's picture
amb commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 2:20pm

10c deposit on every Bintang & plastic water bottle would solve a fair bit of this. Have the eastern states of Aus taken on this yet? (as per SA)

Fleazool's picture
Fleazool's picture
Fleazool commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 2:25pm

That's a sad storey.
How much plastic must be in the food chain there & around other SE Asian countries, India etc?
Just googled "plastic river" and saw some frightening scenes.

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 2:30pm

Was in Bali last November and the last two days of my stay the wind turned and with it came piles of rubbish. Could first notice it out around the reefs of Kuta and the very next morning I couldn't believe the amount of rubbish that had accumulated on the beaches. The local people were just burying it!!!

I thought there and then that a recycling plant in the area would reap wonders!

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 2:37pm

Bali first trip 1975,no plastic everything wrapped in banana leaves.
Last year in Balian,lot of rain ,river swollen and spewing out lots of rubbish,took a walk along the river up to the village and lo and behold everyone throws there rubbish into or onto the river bank to be washed away by the next down pour.This is typical EVERYWHERE in ASIA.
Lakey Peak village early 90s,wondered what all the holes were for around our home stay,most had been covered but the few that weren't still hadn't been filled with plastic drink bottles.
Cambodia a few years ago,couldn't believe that a creek near where we were staying was choke a block full of plastic bottles and styrene ,i mean completely blocked .I went and took a picture of it and asked our driver why it was like that and he said it was the governments fault......i asked him why the local villages don't clean it up....governments fault.......again.
Anyway he said when the rains come it would disappear into the ocean.......couldn't reason with him as he didn't care as long as he and all his people didn't have to clean it up....out of site out of mind.So along this beautiful beach you had to step between the disposable nappies and women' pads etc .........they don't get it.!
Apparently China has stopped importing our recycled plastic now and we have warehouses full of stuff to be recycled but no one wants it.So might not be only a Bali problem.


johnson's picture
johnson's picture
johnson commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 2:42pm

This problem goes far beyond Bali's tourist strip. I recently did some traveling around Arnhem land - some of the most remote, undeveloped, and untouched land in the world. The place is wild and absolutely pristine, until you hit the coastline of the Arafura Sea - and find the beaches strewn with bottles & rubbish from Indonesia.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 2:45pm

I recently spoke with some crew from Patagonia who helped Tassie surfers do their annual clean up in the South West National Park. Even there, one of the most remote spots on Earth, the plastic tide is rising.

John Eyre's picture
John Eyre's picture
John Eyre commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 3:15pm

Its funny to think that it took decades for your average joe to understand how this plastic pollution has occured.....eco friendly scientists must have been freaking about it from the start..............decades ago....
So dont forget that your disposable popout surfboards are hugely adding to this plastic pollution every day...as we speak theyre breaking and floating around across the worlds oceans poisonous for sealife that eats that foam and fiberglass..........we can make a difference though!...... surely us surfers have brains?.....but no not enough do... they do very little or nothing at all about environmental issues.....disposable plastic needs to be a priority especially as we like to get in the ocean !!! An ocean of plastic balls and plastic fish....c'mon use....and keep your plastic sensibly and make changes to stop this man made disaster! ! !
You can start with minor changes then continue to change our (surfers etc) ways............we all want the ocean clean because we love it so much???............


velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 3:54pm

Make your next board out of renewable* timber, yourself, with simple tools. It takes way longer, is way more satisfying, and you can walk shavings through the house without worry.

*When a paulownia tree is cut, another grows from the stump. Chinese fathers would plant one on the birth of a daughter, to be cut and made into a furniture dowry gift upon her wedding. Plus, the flowers smell beautiful, the birds love them.

Also look up:


saltmotion's picture
saltmotion's picture
saltmotion commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 3:26pm

If you look at the current state of the human species you can either see a conflict between economics and the environment or evolution in action. The difficult part of this is, we humans are the species having to evolve. Our attitude to the planet must evolve to a more cohesive, harmonic and balanced existence, or, like the other species that we are pushing into extinction, we will push ourselves into oblivion as well.

I think that the general population are looking to technology or government to ‘fix’ the issues humanity has caused to the planet. Most of the population believe there is an environmental crisis, there isn’t, there is a human crisis. The problem with the planet is staring us in the face when we look in the mirror. But that’s a difficult fact for people to accept so they turn to faith, religion, convenience or ignorance to justify their actions that they know are causing environmental degradation.

If you take a step back and look at the broader picture it is easy to conclude that a muddy pool is best cleared by being left alone. One way to fix the environment is to leave it alone, but that means a drastic reduction, or elimination, of the human population.

The planet was here long before us, and I honestly think it will be here long after us. We are the only species to exist that can actively play a part in our own evolution. Now look in the mirror and ask yourself if you think it’s worth trying to live a more balanced and sustainable way of life?..

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 3:31pm

That picture of a perfect barrel littered with, well, litter, speaks a thousand words. I've also done the walk up the river behind Balian, Simba, and yes, piles of plastic bottles as high as it can get.

It is our problem as much as theirs. I would like to think that some of our aid money, additional aid money, could go to places like this to set up recycling plants and waste disposal methods more friendly and realistic. Plastic bottles are the worst, hard to recycle, but do-able.

Would mean much more for the island, and might be something that could be done with Indo government so that they set up same on Java and other islands. The very essence of unsustainable practices, it will lead to westerners no longer visiting their islands and loss of foreign cash, no work for locals, all manner of problems.

Plus we could direct a shiteload more money at universities to research better ways of managing the whole life cycle of these waste streams and eliminating anything that can't be recycled.

But it's all about money, and they won't get any if they don't clean it up. Short term thinking winning over long term planning. Can't blame the indos for that, most of the western world is deeply wedded to short-termism.

We need a new politics. Boy are we up shit creek, with no solutions in sight.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 3:44pm

As with most things, it's fixable with education. Reminds me of this...

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 4:13pm

Those blaming westerners and removing the blame from Indonesia are deluded.

If you actually believe that the poor , naive locals can’t get their heads around appropriate disposal of rubbish due to having just come out of the trees then I question if you’ve even visited the joint.

They sure seem to have adapted to mobile phones , automobiles , development and every other aspect of modern life . But you think that they’re still wondering about the difference between a banana leaf plate and an empty Gudang packet ?

The reason the place is polluted is the same reason at the root of virtually every problem in Asia . That being the Tradgedy of the commons and corruption.

They know what the problem is and they’ve got the ability to solve it . They just don’t give a fuck and when they do it’s circumvented by debilitating greed.

As Sprout says the answer is education . Make people care and then the corruption won’t find the situation so easy to ignore and exploit.

Australia used to be just as fucked before the Keep Australia beautiful campaigns shamed everyone into action. It used to be the done thing to turf your rubbish out the car window or incinerate it in the backyard.

We changed and so will they.

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 5:17pm

Totally agree.

To argue otherwise is to argue against the laws of nature ........ apart of humans what other species goes about to schematically destroy the natural world?

matthewblackesq's picture
matthewblackesq's picture
matthewblackesq commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 4:13pm

A step in the right direction might be if we all take a stainless bottle and buy one of those big water cooler bottles they sell all over the joint. Cheap as chips, if my memory serves me well I think I used to pay 20 000 rupes for 1, get through them pretty fast over there. Return it and get another.... Its not always possible if we're on the go but if we do it when we can it could make a bit of a difference...sit down and eat with the people off a ceramic plate....drink out of a glass....only buy the nasi take out in banana leaf, it must be still available?....its in our hands

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 4:58pm

Bali is filthy mess and only going to get worse.

IF im not surfing im racing

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 5:11pm

I've linked this before, worth a look if you haven't seen it


This also


indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 6:19pm

It's not a Bali or Java problem or Indonesian problem it's a third world problem.

It's a combination of things.

Education: it wasn't always a problem because everything was wrapped in banana leaves, but now everything is plastic so can't be just thrown on the ground like before, or thrown in the river etc.

Mentality: similar to above, out of site out of mind, it's just the way they are brought up, i remember when i first met my wife and we were eating something like ice-cream or lollies and walking the streets and i said where can i put this wrapper, and she said just said just throw it on the ground, she thought i was crazy or weird to not want to do it...now she would never dream of doing that and will hold onto the wrapper until she gets to a bin.

I don't think it was really that long ago many Australians had a similar mentality i remember in the early 80's heaps of litter on the side of roads or in school yards...you knew you shouldn't litter but it also wasn't a huge deal if you did.

But then we had all these campaigns and adds to clean up Australia, and tidy towns and a crack down on littering and fines, and our mentality changed and how we view others who litter.

Also major reason is just lack of rubbish removal services, yes in some areas they have it but its basic and rarely proper bins, and many areas villages and shanty towns backing onto rivers or islands etc don't, in many places there is only two options burn it or bury it. (many resorts/surf camps in places like Mentawais still only have these two options, its just reality of the situation)

Also in Australia until the early 80s we had a similar mentality, I remember pretty much everyone had an incinerator to burn rubbish in the backyard.

I guess developing countries are about 30 years behind in mentality, education and infrastructure/services.

Please Stunet give me an ignore button for Talking Turkey, Shatners Basoon, Dale Cooper, Factotum, Pupkin, and any new fake profile he decides to create.

seabiped's picture
seabiped's picture
seabiped commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 6:50pm

Saw this at Balian in 2016. Beach pristine then after a rainfall the river spewed its guts and the plastic crap was shocking. Picked up a few pieces but it was too over whelming. In two days time the beach was cleared of all traces. Sad to know that it was just swept out to sea. I guarantee there would not be one plastic drinking container dumped, thrown etc if there was some deposit on it as we do in SA. I'd post some pictures if I knew how in the comments section.

On a clear day you can see as far as the back of your head.

sypkan's picture
sypkan's picture
sypkan commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 7:42pm

Spot on blowin and indod

Disgusting plastic/rubbish pits strategically hidden near mentawai so called 'eco resorts' is not a good look. But it doesn't matter because guests don't see it from within the bubble. They don't feel it either.

I think crew are getting a bit obsessed with the plastic bottle thing. They are already recycled in indonesia, while other plastics are not. You see people collecting them all the time, in some places.

But this is the issue, only in some places are there the facilities. Just like rubbish collection. What's the point of collecting the rubbish if there's no one to pick up the collection? And that's where the culture develops .

I think the biggest concern is indo's thinking western ways are a sign of prestige. Nothing more disappointing than going to your former paper and banana leaf food haunt and find they've upgraded to plastic or polystyrene containers. The shop crew think they're killing it, proud as punch. Heartbreaking.

I don't want to turn this into an aid bashing exercise, but I find it amazing that the supply of clean free drinking water was so fundamental to western development, yet it has not been a priority for places like indonesia. When you learn what stuff and labour costs are in indonesia, you realise that the ausaid budget alone could have probably piped clean water to every major centre ten times over. Thus aleviating poverty, reducing plastic, and most importantly supplying a basic human right that seems to have been lost in the rush to help the third world.

I've seen a lot of anti aid sentiment of late and I believe it is part of the current disillusionment with our cureent leaders. Maybe supplying the basic building block for a society to develop would have been a better goal than the spot fire aid methods of the last few decades that throw big coin around with little in terms of a cohesive goal.

30 years of TV ads looking for cash to build wells in africa..aren't we there yet?....not even close....

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 8:42pm

Big bad marine debris is least of Ocean's problem.
Without looking,I guarantee all of that filth has English Typeface. All of it addressed to us.
Epic Photo: Cleanest Beach Award/Huge makeover. 'Rubbish Games' Are Teams competing?
Goes to show if you can see your enemy you can defeat it...(OZ would love this problem).

It's what you don't see that kills you! (Out of sight out of Mind).
Surfboard riders/Boaties & even basherz best think twice before pointing the bone.

2014 South Korea Studied their Top 2mm Micro layer of Ocean (World 1st surface study)
All were surprised that largest pollutant was fibreglass + paint 195 parts/litre.
This percentage is 10-100 x greater than all other ocean depth debris measures.

It was traced back to '17,000' local Fishing Boats..(note: SEQ 500,000-1m boats + surfcraft)
Alluding to flecks of sheen on the sea... Ocean resembles Surfboard flavoured skating rink.

In Surf lingo: The lip of your barrel is made of fibreglass. (Being hit by the lip is Kharma)
Love the taste of Surfboard in the Morning. Skeg Shampoo! Surfboard Eye Drops. Skegborg!

OZ Micro minced mush.
Our Washing Machines/Dishwasherz mince up Lil' Lisa Slurry. (Dr Burns killing machine)
Pumped into a sea of Fish eaten by OZ Seabirds now 43% polluted by 2050 = 95%.
CSIRO say this veil of death extends East Coast -Tassie- NZ. (1st world problem).
Note: Indo free range litter is too crude for birds/fish. (Wildlife/plankton prefer OZ slurry).

World fumbles 10,000 spazz Marine Debris cards + Sea of Skegz wrestling "Plastic Bags"!
Universal Putt Putt card is cheapest quickest way to build a www map/graph thingy. Easy!
Sooner we map life threatening tides the better we can protect & better still prevent them.

Yes! I have written to CSIRO/Others on Universal Bowling Debris card for efficient analysis.
Global Card enables beachcombers valid access to local chute.(24/7 Clean Up count/effort)

Note: Spacejunk is forecast to the second 10-20 years in advance to launch Space Missions.
One card = One Map like Nasa... We all swim in same ocean possibly the same filth.

Sunscreen even Boardshort fibres kill off marine life in no small way...We're all doin' it!

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 11:37pm

Your talking shit.

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Friday, 23 Feb 2018 at 11:36pm

I haved watch Morning of the Earth a fair few times. It has become mythic.

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 12:05am

There was not a lot of plastic.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 12:11am

Recently picked up some OK Surf shorts, one pair made from recycled plastics one pair made from recycled fishing nets.
Really well made, comfortable and well designed. excited to get them, to do a wear test on both pairs and compare them to another pair of regular surf shorts.

Not much plastic comes into our house .We try to source all food locally and farm our own fruit and vegetables, eggs..all organic.
Build all my own boards now days. Even trialing molds for fins . (surfing locally, no flights )
Feel the best way for me to approach this is by creating an environment that promotes change.
There comes a point in time where we have to be accountable for our own actions .

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 12:57am

I am accountable for my own actions day to day, I pick up litter, because of the lazy bastards in Goodna, Damn!

I would buy one of your boards and I will pick up litter for it too!

Bloody Hell!

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 1:40am

If you pick up enough litter I will give you a board. Keep it going mort !

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 1:55am

Ok, I will even separate it for you. I want a Mini Mal, soft nose, around 8, I like flyers, soft rounded end, not to concerned about the bottom shape. Spray is up to you.

I can depend on Goodna fuckwits to supply me with a surfboard.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 1:02am

I can definitely imagine Gary G in a pair of the recycled fishing nets.

Mort's picture
Mort's picture
Mort commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 1:06am

Yes, I am fifty soon. One, gotta stop looking at porn, Two, Gotta surf more, Three, Become a bloody good writer, Four, Don't die before I get to fifty.

quokka's picture
quokka's picture
quokka commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 3:33pm

5 stop dribbling shit

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 6:16am

Until we have zero plastic production, then sadly we are headed for a rude ending. Recycling just creates a co2 problem. We’re fucked....

JM's picture
JM's picture
JM commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 6:36am

I've got to say, it's not just the trash that's the problem. . . On my last trip to Bali I paddled in at Canggu through all the garbage floating in the shoreline. Ended up with a bad ear infection. All that stuff floating around is a breeding ground for disease.

Älskarhavet's picture
Älskarhavet's picture
Älskarhavet commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 9:14am

Thanks Swellnet for bringing up the issue again.
Fuck...that image of the 'plastic barrel' hits pretty hard!

But as others have said you find it on even really remote beaches in Oz so it's not just Indo.

It's now a background on my computer and iphone to remind me to get the fuck rid of plastic.
Slowly but surely. If there is anything I can start with it's the way I live my own life!

sunhil's picture
sunhil's picture
sunhil commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 9:50am

As a developed nation Australia cant deal with it's own waste other than send it to China for processing (I wonder how much actually made it there or ended up overboard in transit.....the '4 corners' report on the practices of the recycling industry has me somewhat sceptical. http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/trashed/8770146) how can we expect 3rd world countries to deal with it. And how much sense does it make from an environmental perspective to ship rubbish around the world? Moving the problem to a country that has less environmental standards!! Let's see how our politicians respond to China's rejection of our waste. I'm sure they will get their heads together, collaborate, cooperate and find a long term sustainable solution:)


skull's picture
skull's picture
skull commented Tuesday, 27 Feb 2018 at 10:13am

that 4 Corners docco was a bit of a shock....

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 11:06am

Anyone notice the new mountain range? You know the one built of waste. You can't miss it as you drive over the new freeway. We are much better at pretending our waste disappears when we put it in a bin but the environmental impacts are still there.......just somewhere we can't see them. The philosophy is the same as the one that builds deepwater sewage out falls. Take it far enough away and we don't have to worry about it. Governance in Indonesia is weaker so they have trouble hiding their waste but the fundamental problem is global. Poor quality, environmentally damaging products are designed to be disposable. Advertising and anti-competitive practices do the rest. It is what happens when corporate interests and economic growth are raised to our highest values. We have had decades of sophisticated psychological methods being used to sell us crap. The even greater tragedy is that the same people and the same methods, are now very successfully selling bad ideas, really bad ideas. The kind of ideas that lead to nuclear war.

Blackpanther's picture
Blackpanther's picture
Blackpanther commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 12:30pm

Longtime Lurker here..

A global Issue no doubt . I try to be as objective as possible about most things in life but the evidence is clear , we as humans - are a pest.

For those of you who haven't had the "awakening" such a thrown around term these days - watch the docco with Leonardo " before the flood " youtube/ netflix whatever . Most of you will have some idea, but the hard objective facts will blow your mind.

The plastic - Firstly , i have no financial or personal relationship with this crew , but i have seen in person, a machine working that takes all this plastic flotsam and converts it into usable fuel ( a bio fuel of sorts ). Came across Adrian and his eco crew in Vanuatu around 2014 ish. Seems they have holed up in Fiji creating an upscaled version of the demo machine i witnessed.

Spent quite a few wet seasons in Bali , at one stage they had closed the dump down, out the back of Serangan . Someone else eluded to the fact , we simply have no where to put the waste.

Personally, i try to consume zero brand new gear , op shops can be your friend although now profit driven also , another pest story .

Trying to purchase fresh produce without plastic packaging has become near impossible . We do our best keeping reusable bags in the car etc , but its not enough.

Finally , The guy that invented plastic - made the governments aware that it was certain to be an environmental hazard in the future. They shot him - his son survives to retell the story. The oil companies had their hooks in the product and their was no stopping them.

I shudder at the thought of having a child in this day and age, by the time they are 30 the world will be an uneasy existence.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 1:46pm

Sorry but recycling plastic into fuel does not make it a "biofuel" . Plastic comes from oil so whatever you do with it, it is still a fossil fuel.

Mad_DB's picture
Mad_DB's picture
Mad_DB commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 12:39pm

Cheers Swellnet - Sick thread, literally and figuratively. This problem belongs to all of us. All plastics in the ocean are breaking down into microplastics which bind to heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants like DDT. They are assimilated into the food web microbially, and directly through plankton, fish, and birds. This is why mercury concentrations are rising in seafood. Consider the vastness of the ocean food web, the amount of plastic that is yet to break down, and rising rates of cancer. Stop using plastic wherever you can. Spread the word, encourage others to do the same, tell your favorite vendors why packaging matters. Vote sensibly, make it an election issue, invest in companies that are doing something about it. Thank your pollies for the steps they have taken (banning bags). Gratitude goes a long way- thanks for reading

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 5:00pm

Of course! We should always express our deepest appreciation to our elected representatives when, momentarily and infrequently, they throw us some morsel of decent policy. Imagine the mental strain involved in dragging their concentration away from self-interest and furthering the interests of their classmates from good old St Swineherds.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 1:48pm

Examine this Photo and 100 or 1000... As I touched on... Bali has no Wildlife Scavengers.
Desperate to count dainty fussy Herons. (Farmers graze cows on tips/Not Govt policy).

Here in Oz Back your favourite to chow that lot down in seconds,hardly minutes never days.

(Critterz)- Dingos/Mental pet muts/Feral Pigs/Feral Cats/ Foxes/Baby Qld Canetoads
(Birds) - Ibis/Seagulls/Turkeys/Crows/Magpies/Pigeons/Grandmas chooks
(Marine munchers) - Canal Bull Sharks/Barnaby's pet Carp
( OZ Backpackerz)- Japs/Brazilian/German any 'd dine out on that lot + (Camp till next load)

Boatpeople smuggle ISIS in smuggle IBIS out... Super Ministry & all say that's a fairer deal.

1st world micro fibre wipeout.
(Tip:) Shake down/flick each clothes item before washing. (Why?)
eg: 1 item loses 20 micro fibres x 10/load = 200 killer fibres.
Your a star! (You just saved a seahorse colony).As they live in and around urban outfalls.
Sure retro-fit clothes dryer filter onto the whirlpool exhaust... King of the sea you'd be!

5.25 Trillion pieces of Ocean Plastic as of mid 2017(csiro)
8 Tonnes of Plastic enter Ocean each year

Australians hoe down 1,800 pieces of micro plastic/year or 11,000 for shellfish lovers. 'Waiter! "I ordered a double shot of micro plastic in my high fibre Chowder... Bitch!"

LeroytheMasochist's picture
LeroytheMasochist's picture
LeroytheMasochist commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 1:50pm

If Leroys car cost cha ching ching to fixy fixy, but the problemo not so bigo as to stop Leroy getting to waveo/bottolo, then Leroy no fixy fixy his pussy wagon. Pussy wagon not do his job anyway.

Leroy think best ideas is to go low cost solutions. Basic business idea numuro uno
Hit up travel sites airbnb, booking.com etc. Get them to detail whether their rooms have environmentally friendly fixtures. I.e solar, gas, good light bulbs, water distribution outlets, like the water cooler in Leroys office way back when Leroy had that job and would hang out there.

And then give some preference to enviro friendly accomadation providers in terms of listing order. And presto everyone has solar hot water, and those water distribution outlets etc etc. And no more need to make plastic ball shorts

And with the extra savings Leroy fixes pussy wagon... and goes on to make successful porno industry.

Thank you, thank you

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 4:29pm

Some more solutions. No, not a biofuel, but rather a reduction in hydrocarbon chain from something that takes 500 years+ to degrade and really stuffs with living things, to something that is a lot more easily absorbed by vegetation:



Clever Japanese fellow. Like sugar, maybe the best thing that can be done with plastics is burn it in an engine:


blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 10:11am

Sorry but burning plastic has exactly the same problems as burning coal. It is derived from oil and so is a fossil fuel. The available solutions are to reduce its use or recycle it into other useable products. No matter how you process it, it remains a hydrocarbon derived from oil and so burning it results in a net increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 5:21pm

See post below where I say:

"Plus, that's all oil that doesn't have to be taken out of the ground. Win, win, win."

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 5:55pm

It's not about keeping it in the ground it is about keeping the carbon dioxide produced when it burns out of the atmosphere so win, LOSE, LOSE, LOSE.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 7:28pm

You do realise that if the plastics continue to float in the sea, and are not converted and burned - then the oil for the demand that these would satisfy will still come out of the ground, and CO2 commensurate to the demand released into the atmosphere?

This way we at least get to clean the oceans and reduce landfill.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 at 4:58pm

& here's a 2018 article on it, quite up to date:


So here's a solution to buried/ocean-bound plastic pollution that relies on a positive motivation (free fuel for your village or household) to solve an enormous environmental problem, with clever, simple technology that can be applied at the local level. Or at any scale you would want. Nice.

Then, as more people do it, the plastic waste will start to have a commodity value (ie, what's the price of free fuel) and a real economic incentive will exist to clean up at the point of pollution.

Plus, that's all oil that doesn't have to be taken out of the ground. Win, win, win.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Tuesday, 6 Mar 2018 at 4:23pm

I'm with you VJ. Blindboy is right that it will still be CO2 output, but that is output that was going to come out of the ground, and eliminates the plastics problem.

Weaning everyone off fossil fuels, sure, have to do that, but this can be a step along the way.

Best of all possible worlds, companies scouring the planet for waste to make the next generation of CO2 free fuels. Include human excrement in that waste category, fuel our future every time we crap.

nasigoreng's picture
nasigoreng's picture
nasigoreng commented Sunday, 25 Feb 2018 at 11:47pm

I lived in Bali 2011-2016. I saw Kelly surf on that trip following his twitter statement.

The rubbish problem in Bali is the worst I've seen anywhere else in the world. To give that statement some context: I have traveled all of Asia except for Japan and the Philippines.

From my experience, Bali's problem with rubbish is as follows:

1) Winds blow the majority of the rubbish from Java (population 100 million+) in the monsoon months
2) Indonesian people have limited options for disposing of rubbish due to an ineffective government/infrastructure
3) Indonesian people previously wrapped most things in biodegradable plant material, baskets, banana leafs etc. Disposal was not an issue. This attitude still exists today - plastic disposal is therefore misunderstood or disregarded
4) Education of the issue is low on the agenda
5) For the Balinese - gone today is good enough, hence they bury the rubbish on the beach today, then sweep it up again tomorrow by some coincidence.
6) Similarly for people living in poverty, today is more important than tomorow
7) NOTHING MATTERS MORE THAN $$$$ IN INDONESIA. The owners of plastic producing companies, officials and regional managers etc couldn't care less as long as the tap flows generously. Just ask anyone who lives in Singapore and likes to breathe oxygen.

This issue will not change with any great effect until $$$$ stop flowing into Bali. Last time I checked it was one of the most popular destinations globally.

Its dumb shit - we know that. But mass populations, endemic corruption, unchecked growth, low public education and complex spiritual beliefs make it a a problem I cant see changing soon.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 8:10am

Most of your points i agree with, but your first one is just crazy.

Do you honestly believe most of the rubbish on Bali beaches comes from Java?

And gets blown there???

The percentage of rubbish that comes from java would be small, it wouldn't get blown there it would get washed up from the ocean.

The majority of the rubbish on beaches in the tourist areas of Bali comes from Bali.

This is just typical Balinese attitude, if there is a problem blame it on Java or Javanesse.

Please Stunet give me an ignore button for Talking Turkey, Shatners Basoon, Dale Cooper, Factotum, Pupkin, and any new fake profile he decides to create.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 9:31am

But why wouldn't some of it come from Java? Understand the Balos often blame the Javanese, but that island has more than twenty times the population of Bali, it lies just 5 kms away, and wet season winds blow directly from Java.

Years ago I stood on a beach at Panatian Island that was waist deep in plastic bottles. No-one lives on Panaitan, but obviously the bottles came from somewhere.

nasigoreng's picture
nasigoreng's picture
nasigoreng commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 11:29am

Right on Stu................. its just simple statistics, probability and seasonal wind direction.

December = winds from the west = shitloads of rubbish on Bali's west side

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 5:20pm

Im not at all saying a lot doesn't come from Java, but not the "Majority".

Even without rubbish from Java, Bali would still have the problem.

Sadly it doesn't matter where you go in Indo or how remote there is always rubbish on beaches.

Please Stunet give me an ignore button for Talking Turkey, Shatners Basoon, Dale Cooper, Factotum, Pupkin, and any new fake profile he decides to create.

nasigoreng's picture
nasigoreng's picture
nasigoreng commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 11:26am

No, its not just Java..........and yes, blame thy neighbour is a major mentality in Indonesia.

But as a simple statistic, there are 100 million people living next door.

FYI - I've also found Indo rubbish on the beaches of Phuket

wurtulla's picture
wurtulla's picture
wurtulla commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 8:14am

Bali suffers from the same issues as most of the developing nations. Government inefficiency and in some cases corruption. A smart recycling business or a something like ocean clean up (https://www.theoceancleanup.com/) might help.

Bali is clean compared to India. Spent a fair bit of time in India over the past few years. Its a open sewer with 700 million + people doing their daily ablutions outside and plastic rubbish every where.


batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Tuesday, 6 Mar 2018 at 4:26pm

Yep, anyone who thinks Bali is dirty hasn't been to India.

mk1's picture
mk1's picture
mk1 commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 9:25am

Those who are profiting from the process have a responsibility to ensure that their practices do not unduly damage society or the environment, and to adjust their practices as required. Failing that, they have the responsibility of rectifying the problem.

uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy's picture
uncle_leroy commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 9:48am

If the water was potable then there wouldn't be half the problem that it is.
Quite simply, millions of people every day are drinking out of plastic bottles because the water out of the tap is not safe or perceived to be safe to drink.
Fix the water, stop the plastic.
But that's an infrastructure issue, big dollars to be spent and like any Indo development, the quickest dollar is the best dollar, deal with the issues later, or just ignore them.

quokka's picture
quokka's picture
quokka commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 3:06pm

Most popular third world destinations suffer the same fate, they become overcrowded too quickly and the infrastructure and systems can't handle the pressure. Fuck knows how Bali even continues to operate with the amount of people that go there and how rooted their infrastructure is. The western world is definitely to blame, including me. If the influence hadn't come then the Indos would be living as they did pre-plastic, but that's progress hey.
I was in the southern Maldivian atolls in 2014 and in the middle of nowhere on a deserted island there was pastic and thongs all over the high tide mark. I asked the surf guide (who was Maldivian) why they don't clean it up and he said it just comes back. We as a worldly population are doing some serious damage, I reckon it's close to being past the point of no return.

Feralkook's picture
Feralkook's picture
Feralkook commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 3:55pm

The bottle problem is easy, glass, same as it was before recycle, refill, drink, return. These guys are trying. https://www.kono.co.id/
We all sit here and decry the situation but nobody is coming up with solutions. Collectively there must be a few hundred years of knowledge in this forum alone that could come up with some workable solutions. So here are a couple of ideas, set up a go fund me page and the money raised used to assist upgrading that recycling plant to handle plastics. Or maybe fund local clean up crews to get out on the beaches at the worst times. Why not pay for a TV ad campaign to educate the locals, there is plenty of video grapher talent who could provide footage and get a well known local surfer, some internationals who the locals respect and tourism industry reps to voice over what may happen if they don't act. That photo alone speaks volumes. Fund a program to educate the kids in the schools, who can then educate their parents. Buy and hand out T shirts to cute local kids with "Don't rubbish my island, I have to live here" printed on the front, that is a bit out there but not only does the message go out from the kids but they also get clothing and in some cases that would be most welcome as well.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 5:41pm

Hey! I've got the solution, it's in the links I posted above. It's really simple, can be done on local scales from 1st to 3rd world, and it gives the people propulsive fuel for ICEs for free that replaces the oil they would have to buy from big refiners that the big refiners would have to dig out of the ground; and it keeps money in local communites. It can be done with solar energy. It can be done with its own energy. It turns hydrocarbons that are toxic and remain for 500+ years into hydrocarbons that combust and are then taken up by plants. Much better than phalates and extra estrogen ending up in the ocean.

Yes to the lessening of plastics use, yes to using glass bottles (I recommend Grolsh, with the cool hinged cap for easy re-use), yes to the old milk run in bottles with foil caps. Yes to picking up any rubbish you find on the beach, and YES to young Boyan Slat's idea to clean the world's upper oceans of plastic: the Ocean Cleanup.

And yeah - boards made of timber instead of foam/glass/urethane resins/epoxy resins.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Monday, 26 Feb 2018 at 5:40pm

Indonesia clearly can't support it's own lot, let alone invite a world of predator polluters.
Volcanics & shifting massive tides is stealing their precious resource.
Water Table has dropped 50m in 10 years resulting in Lakes/Dams filling of Seawater.

Tourism is out of control...Bali alone is now 5m/year Chinese outnumbering Aussies...

Water use for Locals 14 litres/day...Tourist 1,785 Litres/day ... ***** 4,000 litres/day
Tourist Menus require farm fresh variety further exhausting Balinese farmer's water.

What rubbish we see washing up daily 10T. Accounts for 20% of daily town rubbish or 50T.
Rains flooding the Tip could count for some but locals say rubbish rafts in from afar.
50 Waste Handlerz remove 10T/day or 5T/day Monsoon rains. Emergencies-700 Handlerz

Trash Hero is fancy dress style 'Clean up OZ day' @ Xmas season + School programs.
Plastic Bottle collecting is rewarded with Free health ins'/education fees & Store Discounts.
Each Reverse Vending Machine collects 800/day or 10 kg. Bali Plastic Bottle collection is big.
Recycling plants clean & shred- export to China.Kept low key due to building height Laws..
Bali introduced Plastic Bag Tax in 2016 & now reaffirmed.

Compare to Oz Rubbish schemes... Cando runs all Bikies outta town and from July 1 2012.
Orders Southern States to freely pile 560,000T of rubbish each year onto Border Nappy Wall.
Feds shipout 619,000T of Recyclable waste to China each year....
But we can still put our plastic bottles in the wrong bin on Clean up OZ day each year...

Some good neighbourly advice to Bali is to order a 6-pack of XXXL Aqua Skips!
Oh! & Don't cap your poo mountain range with them cheap nappies. (A Flaming nightmare!)

LeroytheMasochist's picture
LeroytheMasochist's picture
LeroytheMasochist commented Tuesday, 27 Feb 2018 at 12:31am

Leroy wondering if any right wing economists can provide argument against tweaking capitalism? For sure major fuck myself artist but not so keen on left wing socialism or even bolder ping pong at Nazare if honest and streaming it live.

But was interested in the scuppering of mining tax and carbon tax.

Question being does capitalism just fall on its ass if you tweak it a bit.

For example Leroy example was to make example of propitious folk on airbnb, booking.com controlling website to prioritize the accomadation of those who impact the environment the least. If they charge a fricken fortune then Leroy not go there but maybe check it out.

Surely the world can get together and motivate transnational organisations without capitalism dying in the anus.

Surfed greenbowl tonight and smelt like fecal matter. (Onshore but) offshore its still cool. Would not be prepared to brave Cangpu. This is coming from a man who doused his own ballsack in highly flamable alcoholic beverages and chick chick....chick chick boom.

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Tuesday, 27 Feb 2018 at 10:48am

Here's a good look at this issue at the hyper-local level, showing that it's both small individual decisions driven by many factors and also failures of governments at all levels to regulate the problem. I'd also lay a huge amount of the blame on companies that deliberately design products that are so plastic-heavy.

If nothing else comes out of it, at the very least all of us should know that every single bit of plastic we make the choice to use in Indo may as well end up in the belly of a seabird. It's a good enough reason to not have that Beng Beng and have a mango instead.


mk1's picture
mk1's picture
mk1 commented Tuesday, 27 Feb 2018 at 11:24am

I'm going to re-iterate my above. A for profit business is granted a social license to operate within a community. This social license is conditional on the business practices not creating an undue social/environmental impact. Traditionally businesses were given a free reign on indirect costs (externalities) which are paid for by everyone/everything else and not carried in the business' cost base. This allowed the business a free ride on their social costs and skewed the market system (customer assesses value in terms of cost price) in favour of damaging products with lower costs. However with our improving technology and modelling, and appreciation of economic complexity, these externalities can now be attributed back to their "owners" whose profit was overinflated by the social and environmental costs they ignored.

While we may lament the decisions of the individual for discarding waste or governments for not having better waste disposal processes already in place, and these could always be improved, let's not forget it's the profit makers responsibility to operate within the framework of their market or else they are getting "bonus" profits at the expense of that society, while the market system we hold so dear is not allowed to operate correctly as true costs aren't being displayed.

In this regard we need to change our mindset on the responsibility businesses have in society and what rules we expect our governments to enforce back on them. Further, we need to consider whether historic profits distributed to business owners are to remain off limits for rectifying extreme environmental and social damage.

Quint's picture
Quint's picture
Quint commented Tuesday, 27 Feb 2018 at 2:17pm

Oh that's not too bad. Wear booties ladies. C'mon.

channel-bottom's picture
channel-bottom's picture
channel-bottom commented Tuesday, 27 Feb 2018 at 5:37pm

Problem isn't confined to just Indo though.

Google Yangtze river pollution...1.5 million tonnes of plastic into the ocean every year

Google Carribean Sea Waste.

Google Lebanon Beach rubbish

A few years back I heard Spain bulldoze rubbish into the ocean to let it wash up in France, anyone confirmed this?

Problem isn't an Indo or Asia problem, it's a human problem.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Wednesday, 28 Feb 2018 at 10:13am

Coal fired power station expansion[ Celukan Bawang ?] Lovina nth Bali causing some concern ABC news

Vijay's picture
Vijay's picture
Vijay commented Wednesday, 28 Feb 2018 at 10:24am

This is such a massive issue for or entire planet that you can’t just say it’s a third world problem.
Admittedly yes, third world countries have inadequate “waste management” and are uneducated on the repercussions of plastic polution.
To just say it’s only a third world problem though is not true. Even here in Aus with all our education, proper “waste management” systems, recycling rebates etc etc we still have polluted water ways, beaches and forests. Sure, it’s no where near as bad as Indo but considering how educated we all are suppose to be then there shouldn’t be any rubbish around!
Most of us should know better but a lot of it comes down to pure laziness to not actually take action and do something about it.
For example we all still use an unsustainable amount of plastic bags and packaging for almost everything we consume. At the supermarket I see people putting their produce into plastic bags which then go into a bigger plastic bag at the checkout. Plastic bags that will (unless properly recycled) inevitably end up in land fill or elsewhere and take hundreds of years to break down.
We blame government and the big cooperate companies for not “banning” plastic bags but if we are all still using them why would they have any pressure to get rid of them.
Every time I pull up in car parks around the surfcoast I see rubbish that someone has thrown out of their car or that has washed up on the beach. A lot people just seem to not see it and it doesn’t get picked up.... We cannot count on everyone not using disposable plastic or picking up rubbish but if majority of us all did our bit things would start to improve.
We all need to do our bit for the planet at home and overseas otherwise I can’t see much hope for the future.

sypkan's picture
sypkan's picture
sypkan commented Wednesday, 28 Feb 2018 at 11:58am

Good onya vijay. Certainly not only a third world problem. In fact considering the conversation has now moved onto wider issues with plastic I would argue it is more our problem.

Because it seems for every environmental win we have we take two steps back. Like when they banned free plastic bags in SA. Around the same time subway were rolling out their 1000's of franchise stores across the country, with their MO of a worker putting on a new pair of plastic gloves for every sandwich. Now every food joint across the country puts on new plastic gloves for every sandwich. Is this neccessary? Or is it just our whole society is slowly being educated/misguided to practice a level of OCD- ness that it's not even healthy anyway? Its in every facet of our lives. We see similar issues with hand cleaners and every other guilt trip the machine puts on people with other over the top cleaning products and practices.

Good job overlords! You now have poor people paying for plastic bags they recycle as bin liners, while increasing use and disposal of plastic elsewhere. Half a step forward and two steps back.

It's the same with the friut and veg section and bakeries. The master chef phenomenom has increased people's food presentation expectations so much now many products are packaged in the highest grade super thick plastics where once those very light weight thin bags were more than enough. We see this kind of 'development' right across society as the consumption snowball crashes it's way through town.

I think we need to be asking bigger questions, like why the fuck is the sandwich guy wearing gloves in the first place?

And why don't these people have tap water?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 6 Mar 2018 at 11:05am

Fuck...have a look whats going on under the surface/
Diver films wave of plastic - ABC news

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 6 Mar 2018 at 1:00pm


Id normally 100% agree, i think all these antibacterial sprays and wipes etc are a joke.

But funny enough only yesterday i went to the bakery and the baker was the only guy behind the counter as the girls that normal serve were doing something else, and i was about to order and he had this big sneeze into his hands.

Then we both had a moment, where he kind of looked awkward as he quickly put on his gloves to serve me, and i was thinking fark lets hope those gloves are enough

Only time I've ever been happy to see anyone handling food wearing gloves.

Please Stunet give me an ignore button for Talking Turkey, Shatners Basoon, Dale Cooper, Factotum, Pupkin, and any new fake profile he decides to create.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Tuesday, 6 Mar 2018 at 1:06pm

Udo that's a shocker. Also the 4 Corners report on Australian waste management linked above is a shocker - we are no better, we're just more industrialised in our dumpsites/corruption.

Here's another one: plastic gets to the far ends of the earth:


stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 7 Mar 2018 at 9:29am

More damn rubbish! This time it's zee Germans - bottle lobbed overboard in 1886, found near Lancelin just recently.


thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 7 Mar 2018 at 9:40am

ABC ran another story yesterday, filmed from Manta Point, Nusa Penida.

"Diver films wave of plastic pollution off Bali on scale 'never seen before'"


sypkan's picture
sypkan's picture
sypkan commented Wednesday, 7 Mar 2018 at 10:24am

Indod, I'd rather see that baker wash that sneeze off of his hands with soap than try and squeeze it inside a pair of plastic gloves.

But this is the new normal...just cover it up with plastic..

Everything! Including people!.......(cue creepy twin peaks voice)...wrapped in plastic..

My mate just bought a bed. The wheely bin is now literally overflowing with plastic. Just from a bed. Where does this shit end?

fwiw, there is a place for hand sanitisers. Like travelling on a dirty indonesian ferry. But when every soccer mum carries them 24/7, and pulls them out at every human interaction...we've lost the plot!!

Lost the fucking plot!!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 7 Mar 2018 at 5:30pm

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Wednesday, 7 Mar 2018 at 5:44pm

The realisation that we are sending our recyclables to China to be processed gives some perspective. We aren't even dealing with our rubbish, just better at hiding it away. Have to start looking at the life cycle of all packaging, and if it can't be recycled within a reasonable distance, then we're rooted.

Imagine how much CO2 the ships are pumping out just taking rubbish from here to China.

I don't understand how shipping works, hugely expensive to build, hugely expensive to run, and there at it all day and night and seem to make a big profit out of it. Financial geniuses, or yet another rigged market?

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Wednesday, 7 Mar 2018 at 5:46pm

Re shipping containers, (and shipping) a huge number of them are tossed off the side when things get rough, and others fall off in rough seas. They form a significant sailing problem.

Somebody open it up and haul off the goods!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 8 Mar 2018 at 10:12am

As per usual, First Dog On The Moon nails it (re: WA message in a bottle).


John Eyre's picture
John Eyre's picture
John Eyre commented Friday, 23 Mar 2018 at 2:58pm

A good underwater dive film.......plastics and garbage......from nusa penida bali.....its a plastic world....


John Eyre's picture
John Eyre's picture
John Eyre commented Friday, 13 Apr 2018 at 3:10am
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Sunday, 15 Apr 2018 at 10:02pm

Odd that the 2 biggest polluters of Plastic are also the biggest recyclers of plastic.
Due to suffering of kidz, Chinese Green Sword severed OZ tide of filthy plastic puke.

Since mid 2017 the western world is building more & more Warehouses to hide their shit.
England has taken to burying the plastic. Little Island will soon become a giant surfboard.

Now back to our OZ plastic puke...seems the next biggest dealer will rid it for a 30% cut.
Take a look at above photo! Feel the shame Australia.
Indonesia is now No.1 recyclers of Australia's plastic filth.

Micro Plastic averages 10-14 parts/Litre in oceans + Bottle Water (Rises to 10,000/Litre).
About 90% gets flushed out of our bodies via plastic poo & wee! Rest stays inside us?

Reminder: Shake off microfibres before washing. Best free way to help little ocean pals.
So clever our Western refining of waste ensures every tiny parasite can also shit plastic.

Free Tip: Apparently breaking the seal & twisting bottle cap produces most residuals.
Resist the twist to free the the waiting list! [Do the right thing]

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 7:04am

Hope my mate doesn't mind me sharing this


Padang beach last week with not a drop of rubbish, I'm sure he just lucked out and it was after a clean up or something though.

Still good to see.

Please Stunet give me an ignore button for Talking Turkey, Shatners Basoon, Dale Cooper, Factotum, Pupkin, and any new fake profile he decides to create.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 16 Apr 2018 at 8:08am

That's fantastic. Hopepully they can use this as a local blueprint for other locations.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 1:29pm

Hopefully! Step in the right direction.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Tuesday, 17 Apr 2018 at 10:36pm

P. E. E. is the answer! So we just fill our bottles with pee.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 12 Dec 2018 at 10:50pm

bump to thread

Monash is onto it:


A green scene
Turning plastic back into fuel might not seem environmentally friendly, but in reality it’s about as green as it gets. When heavy crude oil is processed, the stuff that remains in the bottom-most fraction after producing jet fuel and transportation fuel are the ingredients for making plastic.

So recycling plastic into fuel brings things full circle. In a perfect world, recycling plastic into fuel would result in less oil extraction to begin with.

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, of course. The high-temperature catalytic process operates at temperatures around 400 degrees Celsius, and this requires energy input. Sorting and cleaning the waste gobbles water. The gaseous emissions produced as a by-product include carbon dioxide.

But this isn’t as awful as it sounds, says Professor Bhattacharya. “Some of the really combustible gases that will be produced during the processing of the waste plastics are effectively recycled back to sustain the process.”

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Thursday, 13 Dec 2018 at 11:14am

Shipshape reactor dropping in on velocityjohnno's Pyrolysis Party Wave

Area 51 Sims Pyrolysis Truckerz ! Comes with free Alien Probe.
Ultra smug Sims Alien pushes free clean hit for inferior earthling's WSL Jeep

Double feature"We are the Cyclists" The most energy efficient beings on the planet.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Thursday, 11 Jul 2019 at 10:00pm

China,Philippines,Malaysia & now Indonesia are shipping back Oz Waste.
We Australians are the Pigs of the Pacific.
Indonesians as children swam in their rivers... not now! Polluted by Australian Waste.
[Made in Australia] 7:30 Report 11/7/2019

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 8:49am

It is what really shits me. We west oz bans plastic bags to reduce plastic use yet just about everything on the shelves in wrapped in it WTF!

Year's of a push by govt to encourage recycling and all that is done is stock piling in some paddocks all over the country.

Other country's now dont want to take it from us.

Seems to me for the general population plastic is one big sham and scam.

Hurts my brain too much to think who gets rich off the shit.

Supermarkets don't seem to do fuck al except are happy to watch you pack your own fucken bags and take your cash.

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 9:34am

Sorry everyone, I have never vented publicly before now. I could say I didn't know what come over me but me thinks the updated j-bay forecast got my blood the moving and the word plastic got it boiling.

I shall endeavour to now read above posts before commenting further

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 9:37am

No need to apologise, most people are thinking the same things about plastics.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 10:21am

Just to avoid confusion,since Stu filed A1 report...Indonesia is now Oz #1 Tip Site.
Once China shipped back our shit...Indonesia picked up the load.
Surprise! All that shit you read about us wiping our own arses, was just more bullshit!

As said,since report date...Oz dumped over 1 million Tonnes of waste in Indonesia.
Indonesia takes 20% of OZ toxic filth...Deadset heroes dying for Aussie cause. {R.I.P}
Pick up any xxx filthy Mag...& see what tbb is ranting on about! (We are the News!)

Near all is sorted then burnt alongside Brantas River which stokes Bali's Surf Spots.

Make no mistake all of Bali & visitors swim,surf 'n'play in Australia's BYO toxic tide.
Ok! So it comes as no shock to us slack arse Aussies but we gotta stop this crap!

Vic Local's picture
Vic Local's picture
Vic Local commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 5:03pm

Let's be honest. There's no effective rubbish "disposal" system in Indonesia. If you buy something wrapped in plastic, you should be prepared to burn the wrapper or chuck it in the ocean yourself. That's the only two ways Indonesia deals with rubbish. Putting a wrapper in the bin doesn't cut it.
Next time anyone goes to Indo, they should take their own drink bottle and forgo the Beng Bengs, ice creams, chips etc.

"angry online, smiley in the brine"

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 8:24pm


What would Gonad Man do?

He certainly wouldn't do what Australia has done with its industrial waste. I will never look at the recycling bin in the same way again.

Seriously, as I said up thread, best to break down these plastics' complex carbon chains (that take hundreds of years to break down and shrink the old fellas of the fish and turtles) and use them as fuel. But ultimately - we shouldn't be using them in the first place.

All of you go out and drink a hinged top Grolsh, then you have a water bottle for life.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 8:28pm

VJ, go see the Daily Good News thread for more info.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Wednesday, 20 Nov 2019 at 9:04am

"Now Dr Humphreys sees the mountains of stockpiled plastic as a wasted resource — one he says could be used instead as fuel or remade into new plastic.

His Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (Cat-HTR) does just that through a form of chemical recycling that changes the plastics at a molecular level using hot water at a high pressure to turn them back into oil."

Using heat to turn back into oil which becomes a product feedstock or fuel, where did I hear that upthread?? Well, now at least it has a cloak of respectability as a scientist is doing it...

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Wednesday, 20 Nov 2019 at 3:03pm

2011 Licella had been onto burning Mallee Oil with Cat-CHT for Jet fuel.

Assorted Plastic is minced by high pressure water & the oils naturally self heat.
Oils heat to flash point & dialled to critical point water(374*C) fusing as required.

With oil the (critical=flashpoint) flames arc as in welding but controlled at 374*C.
Here all fuse into a lava like slime state that can be caked, baked or refined at will.

Originally Brown Coal > De Caff- Coffee Beans (vid) > Sewage
(Tree Oil > Fuel) now Re-cycle plastics > Wax, New Plastic & Oils - (Licella Patent)

First natural partnership was a ( tree oil rich) eco pulp mill...
Now partnering chemical comp'...(possibly for 100% screening > byproduct range)
(Both did get handsome grants)

HTR will take Bio Mass + Plastics + Brown Coal + Used oil
The secret is to ration oil content mix amount to meet critical point water in best time.
If too little it clumps + too much & it ignites. (Needs to heat as one for 100% fusion)
Mixed Oils have 100* flashpoint variation thru to critical point water.

So you probably could randomly feed it for Flood Clean up Purpose.
In order to promise on time product delivery then approx known input would help!

CHT process corrodes valves & joints so Oils play a secondary role.
Natural design process seems to run efficiently...Time will tell...