Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kuta’s beach is trashy

Imagine this: you’re standing on the edge of a golden sand beach, a hot breeze in your hair, watching surfers twist and glide along the massive, crashing waves, in front of a stunning cloudscape. Now, just don’t look down at your feet, or else the reality of the mounds of garbage washed up along the shore might mar this lovely tableau. In addition to wet and dry season, Kuta has another season: garbage season. At this time of year, piles, and piles, and piles of garbage wash up daily on the west shore. It looks like a dump. And so much of it is plastic. It makes videos like this less surprising, but no less disturbing. 

Opinions are divided about the cause—some blame it on neighbouring Java, but others point to the litter tossed into Bali’s ditches (whatever isn’t burned) that ends up washing into the sea during rainy season. Regardless, it’s appalling, and shocking.

There is a major waste problem in South East Asia. Absolutely everything from the market comes in bags, and often double- or triple-bagged. And when you say you don’t need a bag, you get strange looks. Bags are the norm. As are straws. Any beverage will come with a straw. Then there’s all the single serving snacks from the mini-marts. So much packaging. Municipal waste management is patchy, and a lot of garbage is burned in the ditches or dumped into ravines and gets washed out to sea from there.

Maybe some packaging reform can come from being faced with a problem like this? It’s hard not to want to change something when our consumptive habits threaten to ruin the very thing so many people come to Kuta to see…

*Also, I took these photos in the afternoon, after the dumptrucks had shovelled up the majority of it. This shows a fraction of what you'd see in the morning at low tide.

Just don't look down...

1 comment:

  1. A sobering and thought provoking post. Certainly something travel guides don't focus on!