RE: Plastic garbage in Bali’s seas, or, a surfer’s karmic trick

I was going to post some thoughts on Bali’s garbage problem, a problem that I’ve grown up with from the very early days when there was no garbage at all as almost everything was recycled or re-used for another purpose (in Papua, for example, a local turned a discarded flashlight, one of those cheap aluminum shell ones from China, into his bright new shiny penis sheath gourd), but I’m running out time.

Last week, as I was paddling in across one of the east side lagoons, I decided to pick up all the plastic that appeared under my nose. About two hundred meters, straight into the beach, without detouring left or right to pick up anything else. Just what floated up to me. It wasn’t a particularly plastic-y day, like you can get after heavy rains, but this is what I gathered:

plastic bags

A Tiara Dewata shopping bag, Indomie and cookies and sanitary pad wrappers, generic black plastic bag, box drink liner etc etc.

What can one one person do about Bali’s monumental garbage problem? Well, one can do what one can do — use your own re-usable bag when you’re shopping, show by example, etc. But here’s something else surfers can do: grab a floating plastic bag whenever you come in from a session and stick in in your pocket or the sleeve of your rash-guard to dispose of properly. Karma will be kind to you.

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4 Responses to RE: Plastic garbage in Bali’s seas, or, a surfer’s karmic trick

  1. robert says:

    Letting the shop assistant know that you don’t require a plastic bag for your small package of cookies or a can of drink also helps while also [ hopefully / maybe ] sending a message to said shop assistant and those standing next to you …

  2. Bukit Bear says:

    It’s always a complicated task to effect real change. The suggestion of people taking responsibility for their immediate environment (on a daily basis) is a very practical act – and would have a impact if broadly adopted. But within developing countries, environmental protectionism is generally not as important as economic growth. Societies in these nations rarely care about issues like plastic. But if people could earn money from plastic (eg: by collecting bottles) – then you would be giving people a reason to care…

  3. robert says:

    Agreed ,, of course in Bali people do earn money by collecting cardboard & plastic bottles and there’s plenty of people in need who are happy to do it hence one does not see too much of this type of rubbish lying around. Plastic bags and wrappers though [ see Dicks photo ] are the main culprits. I’ve been spending a lot of time in Flores lately and unfortunately there’s no program in place [ where I am anyway ] to even offer an earn for people to collect randomly discarded rubbish [ not that the locals here might feel the need anyway ??

    There’s an area near Komodo airport which is just breathtakingly beautiful [ Bukit Cinta ] that has unfortunately become a roadside dump for all sorts of general rubbish, very sad.

    Besides having economic reasons to create interest in collecting rubbish [ rubbish everywhere in Bali doesn’t seem to have put the tourists off ?? ] I believe education is the key, from an early age drill it in, just like it was done to my generation in Australia when we were kids, just like it was done in Singapore, previously one REALLY dirty place. It’s time the government did something to teach the kids, they after all are the torch bearers.

  4. Pete says:

    It is simple to turn plastic into fuel. I am a bit of a luddite (reformed) so I cannot give links, but a teenager from Jogjakarta and others around the world have created simple machines to turn plastic into petrol and diesel.The Jawa boy could turn 5 kilos of plastic into 1 litre of fuel. Plastic is a valuable recourse.

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