Slater Slams Bali’s Dirty Beaches


A top American surfer and long-time visitor to Bali has said that the pollution in the island’s seas is the worst he has ever seen.

Eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater, often regarded as the most successful professional surfer of all time, was in Bali earlier this month, and made his feelings know via social-media network Twitter.

“I’ve never been so alarmed by pollution situation as this trip to Bali/Indo. We need solutions and multi-industry backing,” he wrote. “If Bali doesn’t #DoSomething serious about this pollution it’ll be impossible to surf here in a few years. Worst I’ve ever seen.”

Slater has some 18,000 Twitter followers.

He reported that pollution was not only confined to Bali.

“Friends just returned from surf trek to outer Indo and said pollution was unbelievable even there,” he wrote, adding that while surfing in south Bali he had seen vast quantities of waste in the water: “Everything. Plastic, random rubbish, medical waste/needles on beach. Disgusting. Smelly water. Really sad.”

There has as yet been no response to the surfer’s criticism from the Bali authorities, but high profile international criticism has prompted action in the past. Last year a highly critical article in Time magazine about Bali’s environmental and infrastructure problems prompted the provincial government to attempt a clean-up.

Surfing is a key attraction in Bali’s tourist industry, with some of the earliest pioneering tourists of the 1970s coming to the island to surf.

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11 Responses to “Slater Slams Bali’s Dirty Beaches”

  1. Anonimous Says:

    Why this new hurts me so much? Because it’s true!
    I love Bali, I live here from long long time, but this is true, it has become incredibly dirty.
    I’ve been traveling all over the world and Bali is my favourite place, I couldn’t live elsewhere, but is also one of the dirtiest places I’ve ever seen.
    Government is doing only little efforts, and I think giving advice is ok but the only way to stop pollution is with huge fines.
    I hope Bali will be a clean island again because Bali is my life and my soul.

  2. Lucas Says:

    To all,
    minimart,alfa,indo mart,..any way all marts, first STOP giving to all your Clients a PLASTIC bag,its not a service its a huge WASTE What end up on,Streets,Gutters,Rivers,SEA’S,.ITS REALLY TIME NOW ,TMR IS TO LATE,.

  3. Mick Says:

    I holiday often in Bali and also have noticed how bad the water pollution has become and the rubbish on the beaches and on the streets. I am not sure if the Bali government has the same programme as Australia where low risk prisoners are sent out under supervision to clean up the rubbish each day, in return for this they can have their sentence reduced for good behaviour, this does two things, cleans up the streets and reduces the impact on keeping low risk prisoners in jail longer.

  4. AB Says:

    Yup. I was living there for two years (Echo Beach) and the pollution just became too much. It’s not just the surf. Island wide, the rivers are stuffed with plastics and DDT, not to mention everyone burning plastic filling the air with dioxin, it’s just an enviro disaster, with zero gov education. Kids have no idea it’s a bad idea to toss plastics, which means there is at least another generation worth of bad habits unleashing the litterbug scourage. -AB in Santa Barbara

  5. mudd Says:

    When I visited in 2011, the southern beaches were absolutely disgusting. Completely covered with rubbish. The fumes from motor bikes and crappy vehicles plus the burning trash heaps everywere are a HUGE turnoff….undermind the whole “this is a beautiful place” notion.

  6. Lewis Says:

    I just returned from Bali and the place was filthy even the ocean by the rivers was a murky brown. It appears that there is no pride left in Bali even the streets were filthy. Was very afraid to go in the Indian Ocean for fears of Hepatitus. Was a beautiful place only to have a Major Trash problem. Even watched the local kids throw trash on the ground. It seems like the only cleanup efforts went to the Resort Hotels and their staff. What a insult to the tourist board. GET IT TOGETHER!!!

  7. Rani Muller Says:

    I’m surprised that billionaire residents in Bali, like Richard Branson, have not been vocal and are not observed to be doing something proactively to prevent the rapid decline of the island’s natural beauty. A massive clean-up action is needed urgently!

    Without the accompanying education, education and more education, nothing can be achieved. Tourists, surfers, low-risk prisoners, school children, residents, local and foreign, everyone would benefit from pulling their weight to restore Bali to at least some of its former glory.

    The collection of rubbish from beaches, a clean-up tax, penalties for burning plastic, the prohibition of the use of plastic bags anywhere on the island, etc. would have to be enforced.

    The news is spreading rapidly that tourists are returning with typhoid, ear infections, dengue fever…it won’t be too long before they stop coming altogether, which, ironically, could initiate the island’s much needed purification and healing process.

  8. Cheryl Says:

    This is so sad and true. I’ve been going to Bali annually for the past 10 years and just the development of the place is possibly the worst thing. Brand new and empty hotels already falling into disuse (dreamland!!) and sprawling development into Bali’s green areas. I suppose as a traveller there i am to blame, but Bali’s government need to think about what it is their tourists (of whom they’ve come to rely on) come for? Its not the shops!!

  9. Laiza Says:

    Hi everyone ! I just came back from Bali where i spent 10 days. My first reaction was the smell in Kuta beach. We also went to Kuta Lombok where i saw lot’s of plastic hanging in the bushes and it’s looked likes flowers at first but few second after, i’ve had realised that it was only plastics.
    I almost took a picture but i didn’t. Anyway it’s was so bizarre to see such beautifull mix. When polution make the nature so féérique. Watch out for the taste of illusion.

  10. jackson Says:

    How disgusting, no way we are ever going back to Bali when the place is just getting filthier. Fiji wasn’t much better last time I went, alot of locals just dumping their rubbish in the bush and on the beach.

    Why do locals even not look after their best asset? The natural beauty of the place? Seems so silly and dumb to me, we often clean up our beach here in Aus, we pride our selves on it, like our home, we like it clean.

    I hope Bali and Fiji get their act together, or else tourists will not come back and lots will die and decay there.

  11. Gede Says:

    I am a Balinese and also a student of Community Development in Southern California. I have been living in Bali since I was born, and I couldn’t agree more to what everyone have said here. There is definitely a link between Indonesian economic growth especially Bali (Tourism Industry) and its environment degradation. The question is, what are we going to do to change it? or how can you help the people of Bali to be aware of the environtment catasprophy that is going to happen? there is always something you can do, be involve!

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