Horror new photos show Bali residents wading through piles of rubbish as they try to clean one of the island’s previously pristine beaches.
The mounds of plastic bottles, food containers and abandoned shopping bags that have flooded Kuta Beach, in the south of the island, were on full display in disturbing footage captured on Tuesday.
During Indonesia’s wet season, from October to March, the beach is often inundated with trash, with the trash washed into the sea and rivers and carried back to shore by ocean currents.
The beaches of Kuta, Seminyak, Legian and Jimbaran are usually the hardest hit.
Due to the growing piles of garbage, Bali authorities declared a “garbage emergency” in 2017 on the six kilometers of coastline that connects the dirty beaches.
New photos show Bali residents struggling to clean up the huge piles of litter left on Kuta beach (pictured, Kuta on Tuesday)
Heaps of plastic bottles, food containers and abandoned shopping bags have flooded Kuta Beach (pictured, Kuta on Tuesday)
Bali declared a ‘garbage emergency’ in 2017 in response to increasing pollution of the beaches of Kuta, Seminyak, Legian and Jimbaran (pictured, Kuta in summer)
However, the heavy pollution was still a problem in the wet season of 2021, when the island was closed off from international tourists.
Earlier this year, a small group of volunteers swept Bali’s entire garbage-infested east coast to clean up the mess.
Tractors hauling rubbish from Bali’s beaches are also a common sight.
Indonesia is one of the largest contributors to plastic pollution, with 200,000 tons of plastic washing into the ocean, according to a study published by the journal Nature Communications in 2017.
The litter problem is only getting worse due to the lack of a centralized waste system in Bali.
The Badung Regency Environmental and Sanitation Department found that 600 tons of litter had been collected in Bali in December 2022 alone.
Bali’s locals are often tasked with cleaning up the six-kilometer stretch of coastline worst affected by pollution before the tourist season begins in July (pictured, Kuta on Tuesday)
Kuta is often inundated by detritus during Indonesia’s wet season, with the detritus washed into the sea and rivers and carried back to shore by ocean currents (pictured, Kuta in December)
Australian tourists said that in Kuta, rubbish is often ‘dragged in heaps’ (above) on the beach
On Christmas Day, some 25 tractors were sent to Kuta to keep on top of the accumulating rubbish dumps.
The litter has become a hot topic of discussion for summertime visitors to the island, with many claiming the pollution ruined their vacation.
‘If you’re going to Bali for their beaches, you’ve missed the mark completely!’ said a mother from Canberra.
A Sydney surfer claimed that Bali’s beaches have looked like this for “at least two decades” in the summer.
‘All the rubbish is dragged onto huge heaps on the beach of Tuban, where it is taken by trucks to a landfill. Every day, about five tons are removed,’ he wrote.
Some online forums now cynically refer to summer in Bali as “garbage season.”
Earlier this year, a small group of volunteers swept Bali’s entire garbage-infested east coast to clean up the mess (pictured, Kuta on Tuesday)
Indonesia is one of the biggest contributors to plastic pollution, with 200,000 tons of plastic washing into the ocean (pictured, Kuta on Tuesday)
However, many tourists say that the beaches are pristine during the high season, from July to August.
Photos show Kuta beach as a spotless paradise with clean water and sand after the locals’ hard work to clean up for the tourist season.
In 2022, more Australians visited Bali than any other national. Over 352,000 Aussies went there, with Indians the second largest group at just 93,000.
The biggest year in recent memory was 2019, when 1.23 million Australians visited.