Don’t Rest on Laurels
The hoopla generated by an article in a declining American magazine was dissipated this week with a government announcement that Bali, after all that has been said, is the cleanest area in the country.
A study by the Environment Ministry in Jakarta of the environmental cleanliness of Indonesia’s provinces put ours out on top (and Jakarta at rock bottom). This is testament to the strident work that many people, Indonesians and foreigners living here, tirelessly do to ensure our island remains pristine.
The exhausting and more than year-long rainy season that now appears to be ending caused pollution problems of a level that are not normally seen on this island. In particular there was a large amount of detritus washed up again and again on our tourist-thronged beaches.
That bad weather-generated seas case swells and vicious waves that fling items onto our shores is a given, and beach workers toiled endlessly to cart the piles away. This scenario, now having dissipated, is likely part of what Time’s writer witnessed. The article, labelling Bali as a place you would not ordinarily want to visit, due to pollution and traffic jams, was largely rubbished by the authorities but many people nonetheless agreed with the view.
Now, at least in the news media, we have a different perspective, courtesy of Jakarta. But the debate – and action – must not end there.
Like any other place of popular recreation around the world, Bali is increasingly falling victim to is success. Yes, there is pollution; and yes, waste is not always properly disposed of – in many cases the Balinese themselves are to blame, over the practice of openly dumping rubbish into rivers and streams, which then carries on down to the beaches. And we are all too familiar with the ever-lengthening traffic backglogs.
The good news is that there are initiatives underway to correct some if not all of this – and it’s vital that it is all righted, because our main revenue-generator, tourism, depends on it. But as we have warned, projects such as the current traffic-alleviation schemes that are currently in the works must actually leap off the drawing board and into reality.Filed under: Editorial