Plastic cans all over the place when I´m making my way from Canggu to Candidasa, both located on paradise island Bali. Thousands of young people marching to celebrate liberation day with lots of happy people along the road to support them. I ask my driver indignantly about this trash on the street. ‘Because there are no public bins and the government don’t want to spend money on waste collecting’.
It catched my eye immediately when I entered Canggu a couple of days ago. There happened to be rubbish all over the place, mainly plastic. A lot of plastic. And initially I blamed the tourists for not caring about other one’s property. But on a short notice the Swiss lady, with whom I spend my nights with, informed me differently; it are primarily locals who created the public trash bins. But why?
Well the main reason seems to be the lack of awareness among the people. And especially the older ones. Still recently all packaging was made out of organic materials which could be thrown on the streets easily. Nature took care of it. With tourism a rapid transition occurs and plastic became the main pack-material. But Balinese still handle it similar: they don’t have any idea which impact plastic has on the environment. There is no education. You can compare it with Australia 30 years ago. Beaches were full of plastic and other dump, but during the years awareness entered, people were being educated and informed properly which supported the clean beaches Australia knows nowadays.
Waste collecting system
And even though awareness about sustainability, recycling and permaculture increases rapidly also here in Bali, there is still a lot to gain. But the government needs to take it’s share. Starting with public bins for example, so people are optioned. But with bins, a waste collecting system is needed and that’s were it hurts.
But it’s a big mission, I know. In the meantime, small steps can be taken. Take this lovely Swiss lady who organizes ‘play-days’ in remote mountain villages every 3 months. Together with locals kids she cleans the streets on a playfull way, what not only creates awareness among those little guys, but automatically involves their parents. On day 2 local political headliners are invited so developments and bottlenecks can be discussed.
It’s all about awareness
So besides heading for big improvements, small steps can be taken, just by showing own creative initiative. Start with a bag, picking up plastic or other waste from the streets or the woods. It’s all about awareness. It’s not only cleaning up, but also inspire other people, creating more consciousness about the possibilities. We can change the world, we just have to take the first step ourself!