The Garbage Problem
Poisoning Our Paradise
For all Indonesian residents and visitors, it is no secret that there is a massive issue regarding trash in our oceans. At this point, the issue is truly unavoidable.
The effects of the obscene pollution issue in Indonesia can affect things such as respiratory disease, toxins absorbed into the body, and the health of our marine life. Not only does this issue have an effect on our body’s health, but it is also a financial burden costing governments and organisations worldwide hundreds of billions to attempt to control.
For the island of Nusa Lembongan, it is no secret that we need to be aware and pay attention to the pollution in our waters. Being so close to Bali, we easily feel and see the issue as the trash begins to scar our beaches.
With the number of pollutants entering our waters, any attempt to fix the issue is like applying a band-aid to a bullet hole. However, large scale change can start with small groups of people coming together and taking steps in the right direction.
The simple explanation for this seemly terminal trash issue is that there just is not a proper system in place in Indonesia to remove the amounts of waste. No waste management, 250 million people, and thousands of secluded Indonesian islands is a recipe for disaster. Transporting trash would be a colossal expense and a burden that no one will willingly accept.
In Bali alone, over 5,000 tons of waste are dumped daily. And for an island that is partially driven on tourism, the garbage-filled beaches are becoming a turn off for the millions of visitors who are looking for unblemished beauty.
But can we blame Indonesians? No. We cannot. In a land where many locals are struggling to provide for their families and finding a decent meal, things like waste management can go out the window.
If there is one thing that we should all be able to agree on, it’s the fact that it is time to stop burying our heads in the sand and ignoring the issue. There are mountains of scientific evidence proving that if we don’t take a stand against pollution, it soon might be too late to reverse the effects they have on our planet.
How the Rainy Season Affects Trash
Bali’s weather, along with the small islands around Bali, has two seasons: the dry season and wet season. Wet season can cause a drastic spike in the number of pollutants entering the water. It isn’t all that hard to figure out why, as the rain comes the water leads to the sea. The runoff water takes thousands of pounds of garbage with it. Rainy season magnifies the issue Indonesia faces.
Dealing With the Problem at Hand
So! Let’s start small. Focusing on our recycling issues on the small island community of Nusa Lembongan is still a very daunting task. Lembongan finds itself with an uphill battle. Recycling on an island anywhere in the world can be difficult, but due to the fact that Indonesia already is “behind the 8 ball” in its waste management practices, our beautiful little island has its work cut out for itself.
Recycling Practices in Place at the Moment
In Nusa Lembongan, the trash issue is being tackled by multiple people and organisations, and there are results to show for it. Unlike in Bali, on the island of Lembongan, the issue seems to be more manageable. This is in part due to the fact that the population is much lower, and the island is much smaller. It is also due to the fact that the community is taking it upon themselves to take care of the trash. Locals and residents are able to assess the situation at hand and work to find solutions to the problem.
Companies like Green Fins, Trash Hero, and Zero Plastic Lembongan have all played a large part in pointing the community recycling efforts in the right direction. At Legend Diving we are proud to work with these companies to ensure that we are doing our part, and setting an example for other businesses on Nusa Lembongan.
Green Fins is an organisation that focuses on the tourism industries and the threats to the heavily visited environments. The organisation ensures that tourists in the area are aware of the environmental issues in specific areas. They also help businesses make sure that they are up to date with the environmental standards for the area. They have been a huge help to us at Legend Diving and we are now sure that we are not impacting Nusa Lembongan negatively.
Trash Hero has been another step in the right direction for Lembongan. They are responsible for organising beach cleanups on the island. A simple initiative of organising these cleanups has helped spread awareness and show that the island is working to combat the issue. It is great to see the community come together for the betterment of the island we call home. They offer plenty of eco-friendly movements throughout Indonesia. We encourage you to check out their page to see how you can get involved.
Zero Plastic Lembongan
Beach cleanups have been a great way to make a quick impact and spread the word about the issue. Zero Plastic Lembongan has been another organisation we have been happy to work with here at Legend Diving. This organisation is trying to educate people about how minor lifestyle changes can go a long way. Changing people’s minds about consumption now means less pollution in the future. If you are living or visiting Nusa Lembongan, please reach out to see how you can make an impact with the local trash clean up efforts.
To make a large scale difference it takes individuals all coming together to achieve a common goal. Simple steps are being made up and down our white sandy beaches here in Nusa Lembongan. Fewer bars and restaurants allowing the use of plastic straws is a great leap in the right direction. In Nusa Lembongan, more and more individuals are saying no to single-use plastics. It might mean bringing a bag to put items in, or carrying a reusable water bottle, but these are little changes individuals are willing to make to preserve the island’s beauty.
We have also been seeing changes from the Indonesian government. A recent ban on single-use plastic in Bali has been a step in the right direction and has the potential to have a big impact on plastics entering the oceans from Bali. This article, Bali Plastic Ban, shows the impacts that this plastic ban may have in the future. Though change is good we hope that it is not too late.
To find out more about how the Legend Diving is combating the trash issue and spreading awareness take a look around our website! Our Eco Internship teaches divers about the health of marine life. We also offer many types of PADI Specialty Diver courses that can help you learn about various types of ocean and marine life practices. You can learn more about that here. But before you can be an eco-friendly diver, you need to become a diver. If you would like to learn more about the underwater world and get your diving certifications, check out how you can dive in paradise.
Legend Diving encourages you to live a more conservative life when it comes to plastic use. As visitors to our beautiful island, and all across the world, be cautious of your plastic consumption. Worldwide there are needs for recycling initiatives, so don’t be afraid to get involved and spark the change. You never know how or when it will affect you and your hometown, just like it affects ours.
By Linwood Vaughn Butler at Legend Diving