19 CLEAN­ING UP: A So­lu­tion to Stop Garbage from De­stroy­ing Tourism

Southern Innovator - - WASTE & RECYCLING -

The small, tourist-friendly In­done­sian is­land of Bali – known for its idyl­lic plea­sures of spas, surf and seren­ity – is be­ing over­whelmed by garbage. A sur­vey of tourists found that two thirds would not re­turn to the is­land be­cause of the prob­lem.

Tourism took off on the is­land in the 1970s. The eco­nomic ben­e­fits are clear: the is­land went from be­ing eco­nom­i­cally mar­ginal to rank­ing sec­ond only to the coun­try’s cap­i­tal, Jakarta, in wealth cre­ation. The is­land re­ceived more than 2.38 mil­lion tourists in 2009, up 14.5 per cent com­pared with 2008, ac­cord­ing to Ida Ko­mang Wisnu, head of the pro­vin­cial sta­tis­tics of­fice. But tourism pro­duces on av­er­age 5 kilo­grams of waste a day per tourist – 10 times what the av­er­age In­done­sian pro­duces (Bali Fokus).

In the past, the tra­di­tional way of serv­ing food in In­done­sia was to wrap it in, or serve it on, a palm leaf: a biodegrad­able ap­proach. But with the huge ex­pan­sion in the use of plas­tics and non-biodegrad­able pack­ag­ing, the waste dis­posal prob­lem is out of con­trol.

In In­done­sia, gov­ern­ment garbage dis­posal ser­vices tend to col­lect be­tween 30 and 40 per cent of solid waste, most of this from high-in­come com­mu­ni­ties. The ma­jor­ity of the poor pop­u­la­tion is left to fend for it­self when it comes to waste dis­posal.

A so­lu­tion by Yuyun Is­mawati, an en­vi­ron­men­tal engi­neer and con­sul­tant, has since 1996 fo­cused on help­ing poor com­mu­ni­ties to find ways to safely dis­pose of waste. In 2000, she started her own NGO, Bali Fokus, and opened a waste man­age­ment fa­cil­ity in the Bali vil­lage of Temesi. The re­cy­cling plant em­ploys 40 peo­ple from the vil­lage, who sort garbage into re­cy­clables, com­post and resid­ual waste. In­come from the re­cy­cled waste and com­post goes to help­ing lo­cal farm­ers. – (March 2010)

• bal­i­fokus.asia/bal­i­fokus • gold­man­prize.org

Garbage is col­lected for re­cy­cling, clean­ing up tourist ar­eas.

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