By Mayukh Saha,
Most of us must have heard of Bali in Indonesia as the ultimate beach vacation destination. However, Bali’s fame as a tourist hotspot comes with a price. The crowds that visit every year have polluted Bali’s previously pristine beaches. To curb this problem, the island’s government has made the decision to ban the use of single-use plastics from this year onwards.
A Statement Of Hope
An official announcement about the ban was made by the Governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, on the 24th of December 2018. Koster hopes that the ban could reduce the amount of plastic discarded in the island by more than half by the end of 2019 alone. The enactment targets the entire chain of production and supply till the consumer end, in order to completely stop the consumption of single-use plastics. Efforts must be made to find sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives. Those who disobey the policy will be subject to strict sanctions such as withdrawing permits to run businesses. A six-month grace period has been granted which began from the 21st of December 2018.
Where Is All This Garbage Coming From?
Tracing the source of all the garbage found littering the shores of the island has been no easy task. However, researchers have now concluded that the vast majority of it originates from Bali itself. Cleaning staff in the various tourist locations, hotels, and towns collect garbage from these places. Most of it goes into Bali’s river and naturally the trash is carried into the sea. The waves and tides of the surrounding sea ensure that much of it is deposited right back onto the island’s beaches creating a very sad sight for the inhabitants there.
Following the exemplary precedent set by Bali, Jakarta, which is also the capital of Indonesia, is also in the process of writing an enactment quite like Bali’s which will ban the use of single-use plastic bags. The Environmental Agency of Jakarta is headed by Isnawa Adji. According to Mr. Adji, a survey conducted by the Indonesia Plastic Bags Diet Movement revealed that most of the people living there were in agreement that they should find ways to decrease their reliance on single-use plastic. He also spoke of other ways to deal with the problem such as limiting the use of plastic straws in hotels as well as in other places.
The Environmental Agency of Jakarta also plans to seek opinions from business people and the inhabitants of the city in order to hear all sides before the ban is set into motion. The Customs and Excise Directorate General of the Ministry of Finance is, at the same time, considering the idea of taxing plastic bags to further discourage people from using them.
In a time when more and more people are realizing the effects of pollution on earth and on the other species that we share it with, measures such as these have been welcomed in many countries. It is important for all of us to wholeheartedly follow these directions in order to save our planet.
Here is a quick video showing how bad the plastic polution problem in Bali is, the video has been recorded by Diver Rich Horner
Image credit: 123RF