Bali’s Dirty Secret

It is not uncommon in Asia for large quantities of waste to be disposed of in waterways. The biggest culprits behind this practice are hotels and restaurants. This practice follows an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, where people are in denial about how much their actions contribute to a bigger problem. The problem goes further than the hotels and restaurants themselves, as outsourcing to other companies to discard of their waste properly does not guarantee proper waste disposal.

Investigations from Bali Environment Agency found that waste from hotels, hospitals and other industries failed to meet the criteria for waterway disposal. Laboratory tests on water from six beaches in Bali showed that not only did the water samples fail to meet the environmental quality standards, they also contained pollutants such as nitrate, nitrites, lead and phosphates. Among these beaches was the famous Kuta Beach and other popular beaches – Jimbaran and Nusa Dua, to name a few.

Water pollution is a big problem, as it not only dangers marine life, but humans as well.

Credit: The Coral Triangle

The water pollution problem in Bali is harmful to the tourists who visit the island who swim and snorkel in the ocean. Surfers especially at risk of getting infections as a result of being exposed to the polluted water. Ingesting the water may also result in stomach aches and flu, among other health problems.

World surfing champion, Kelly Slater, took to twitter to bring attention to the pollution problem in Bali in this tweet “If Bali doesn’t do something serious about this pollution, it’ll be impossible to surf here in a few years. Worst I’ve ever seen.”

Credit: SURFER Mag

Bali is located within the coral triangle, which is home to almost 600 species of coral. The irresponsible disposal of fishing nets and plastic litter pose a threat to the survival of coral reefs. Coral reefs are an extremely important part of the marine ecosystem as they provide support for thousands of species of fish (including Tuna), but also have medicinal properties that have yet to be discovered. Coral reefs are also beneficial to the people who live in its vicinity, who rely on coral reefs for food, income as well as protection from bad weather. Therefore, the threat to coral reefs in waters surrounding Bali due to the carelessness of waste disposal in Bali poses a big problem.

The water pollution off the coasts of Bali also endangers marine animals. Manta Rays who live off the coast of Bali are put at risk during the rainy seasons when the waste from Bali’s waterways is washed out into the open sea. As Manta Rays are filter feeders, they swim with their mouths open in order to catch plankton. This behaviour puts them at risk of ingesting the plastic that pollutes the water, which in turn is harmful to the animal as they are unable to digest most of the waste that they ingest.

Credit: The Coral Triangle

Fast and effective government and public action needs to take place in order for Bali’s world famous beaches and marine life to be enjoyed for future generations. Please consider donating to One Island One Voice an organization dedicated to cleaning up the pollution in Bali.

Leave a Comment