Visual Pollution

The Bali authorities are right in their efforts to clean up the island by ridding the streets of the flood of beggars, many of dubious nature – as in members of gangs or syndicates from outside Bali, some of whom “rent” babies for the sympathy factor and prey on people’s goodness – and in recent weeks dozens have been rounded up at intersections and sent packing.

The government would also do well to clean up the island in terms of the shocking number of garish billboards lining the roads. Electioneering advertising aside, the amount of hoardings in major tourist areas like Kuta is deplorable – hawking everything from villas to beer to dolphins at a northern hotel.

We are of the view that there are far more effective ways for companies to get their message across – the printed and electronic media, for instance – than in this blinding fashion that crassly defiles Bali.

This is not Las Vegas, a materialistic oasis that caters for man’s base desires. It’s an island renowned for its natural splendor and the authorities, in their granting permission for the erection of towering billboards, are acting as enablers in despoiling this beautiful tropical island.

As we go to press with this edition, we notice assembly crews busily putting up more giant ads around Kuta. We are not against commerce, or promotion, but let’s do it in a sensible, sophisticated and less in-your-face fashion that melds with the island’s verdant environment.

Look to neighboring Singapore, where outdoor advertising, save for commercial vehicles such as taxis and busses, is banned, for a bright example.

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