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Taking Out the Trash

Bali’s Clean and Green Campaign Questioned as Goals of Achieving a ‘Plastic Free’ Bali by 2013 Seems an Outright Impossibility

(4/27/2012) Bali Post depicts the problem of rubbish and trash in Bali as a "time bomb." Of the 10,000 cubic meters of trash produced each day on the island, more than 50% of that amount is abandoned without any system of proper waste handling or disposal.

Of the total amount of Bali’s daily trash production, 10-12% is comprised of plastic waste, a small fraction of which is eventually recycled.

Such stark statistics threaten to defeat Bali’s declared campaign to make “Bali Plastic Free” by 2013.

The head of the Center for Environmental Studies at Bali's Udayana University, Dr. Ir. Wayan Arthana, said on Monday, April 23, 2012, said that Bali’s “Clean and Green” program launched by the province has yet to be realized. Similarly, the declaration to make “Bali free of plastic waste by 2013” remains unclear in its execution with only a year remain before the self-imposed deadline falls due.

Arthana said the lack of clear and firm action from the government makes him pessimistic that the goal of ridding Bali from plastic can be achieved in the remaining year leading up to 2013.

Athana, a graduate of Reading University (U.K.),  pointed to the many obstacles remaining to be surmounted in order to make Bali "plastic free." He cited the behavior of people in Bali who have little awareness of the threat posed to the natural environment by plastic waste. He also bemoaned the tendency of people in Bali to discard trash anywhere they please. Moreover, despite much public posturing, little is being done to actually reduce the use of plastics adding to the growing deposit of permanent plastic now residing in Bali’s soils.

The head of the Bali Environmental Agency (BLH-Bali), A.A. Gede Alit Sastrawan, said that the island’s “green and clean” program was in keeping with the Balinese philosophy of Tri Hita Karana that dictates balance be maintained between Man, God and Nature.

Sastrawan said that the problem of trash in Bali is not unlike a time bomb waiting to explode.

He urged Bali to worry less about being free of plastic by 2013, but to, instead, introduce graduated steps for the collection, separation, management and recycling of plastic wastes.