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Bali’s beaches are covered in plastic waste

People come from all over the world to see Bali’s famous white sand beaches. But lately, you can’t see the sand underneath the tons of plastic waste washing ashore. And it’s getting worse.

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Coastlines around the world are groaning under the weight of plastic trash. “It’s not new and it’s not surprising and it happens every year, and it’s been growing over the last decade,” said Denise Hardesty, plastic pollution expert and principal research scientist at Australia’s CSIRO science agency. “But in monsoonal countries we do find a much stronger seasonal affect.”

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When monsoons blow west to east each year, plastic waste especially piles up on southwestern Bali, which is right where Kuta and Legian are. Kuta Beach has long been known as party central to sun-loving visitors. Legian is a renowned beach and popular surf spot. Together, the two beaches receive up to 60 tons of incoming plastic trash per day.

Every day, crews of workers go out and rake the beaches. However, the trash still has to go somewhere. “The biggest problem is actually the trash handling hasn’t been effective in Indonesia,” said Gede Hendrawan of Bali’s Udayana University. “Bali has just started to reorganize it, also Java has just started.” Java is the island directly to the west of Bali and is one of the more than 17,500 islands that compose the archipelago of Indonesia.

Wayan Koster, governor of Bali, has emphasized how important it is to keep the island’s beaches clean. “The Badung administration should have a trash handling system at Kuta Beach that is complete with adequate equipment and human resources so they can work quickly to clean up the trash washed onto the beach,” Koster said. “Moreover, in the rainy season when there are tourists visiting, the trash handling systems should be working 24 hours a day. Don’t wait for tomorrow.”

CSIRO is planning to use remote cameras and artificial intelligence to get a better grip on littering hotspots in Bali. But as Hardesty pointed out, the real culprit in the problem of plastic washing up on Bali’s shores is the continuing increase in global plastic production.

Via The Guardian

Image via Ocean Cleanup Group

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