When you think of Bali what comes to mind? For most people thoughts of picture perfect beaches, beach clubs, yoga retreats, markets, rice terraces and smoothie bowls come to mind. I can admit, that's pretty accurate. Bali really is as Instagram worthy as it is painted to be.
But it's also not.
As with most things, there is another side to Bali. Bali has a plastic problem. A big one.
Did you know that Indonesia is the second largest ocean plastic contributor in the world, just behind China? Did you know that a whale washed ashore in Indonesia with more than 1,000 pieces of plastic in its stomach? That much plastic weighs about 13 lbs.
It's hard to visit Bali and it's neighboring islands and not want to help make a change. Bali is what truly opened my eyes to what a problem plastic is.
Changes are being made though. Most tourist restaurants offer bamboo straws. Most trash is burned, but changes are slowly starting to be made in the way garbage is disposed of. Many young people see and recognize the problems and are working to make changes and help to educate the generations behind them. On the island of Nusa Penida, hand painted signs are found on the streets and beaches to raise awareness about the threat plastic poses to the oceanic wild life. The sign that always got me the most was one on the side of a busy street that said "Say no to trash, we don't want more turtles in the sky" (unfortunately I never was able to get a photo while speeding by.)
So while, it is heart wrenching to see the littered beaches and streets (it brought tears to my eyes a time or two) it is also important to do our part to help with change. As guests, it is important to respect the places we are visiting and help keep the places beautiful. It is important to do our part in trying to keep our footprint minimal.
"Protect what you love. Protect your island"
Do as the mural says, not as others do.
Grab that piece of trash floating passed you on your dive and stash it in your wetsuit.