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