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The High Cost of Trash in Lombok

Cruise Ship Visits Cancelling Visits to Lombok Due to Poor Trash Control

Kompas.com reports that three international cruise ships have cancelled coming plans to call on the Island of Lombok.

The general manager of PT Pelabuhan Indonesia in Lembar (Pelindo III), Erry Ardiyanto, said that of the three ships to cancel plans to stop in Lombok, one vessel specifically mentioned trash at the destination port as the reason for deciding not to visit.

“3 of 26 cruise ships (for 2019) have cancelled. The main reasons given were the recovery process following last year’s earthquake and the problem of trash,” said Erry, speaking at the port of Lembar on Monday, March 11, 2019. Erry said the decision to cancel the cruise was received from the ships’ agent in Singapore. Each of the cancelled ships were expected to bring between 1,500 and 2,000 international passengers to Lombok.

“Trash at tourist stops was also one the complaints. But, the topic of trash we have handled,” explained Erry.

Erry said that in dealing with problems like trash at destinations, PT Pelindo III cannot overcome such problems single-handedly, but must also receive the support of the public. Pelindo is in communication with Lombok’s Tourism Service and leading tourism stakeholders in the province of West Nusa Tenggara. Adding: “These efforts have been done to raise the level of concern and desire to protect the natural environment in order to protect the welfare of Lombok and its people, and to safeguard the Island’s short-term economic eeds and its long-term sustainability in the future.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of the NTB Chapter of the Association of Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA), Dewantoro Umbu Joka, freely admitted that the problem of trash and the cleanliness of public toilets needs the attention of the regional government following last year’s earthquakes. He commented that while cruise liners may only stop for a single day in Lombok, the success of those visits can have a long and lasting effect of Lombok’s international image as a tourism destination. Adding: “Don’t let the simple problem of trash become an obstacle. This is an internal problem that we must tackle together. Before tourist arrive the trash should be removed and the toilets must be working well.”

In response, the head of tourism (Kadispar) for West Nusa Tenggara, H. Lalu Mohammad Faozal, denies the news of the cancellation of three cruise ships to Lombok in connection with hygiene and trash problems.

“There has been no rescheduling or cancellation of cruise ship visits to Lombok,” said Faozal when interviewed by Kompas.com on Monday, March 11, 2019.  According to Lombok’s head of tourism, his office has taken steps to routinely clean the coastline in several key areas of Lombok assisted by the local community in each location. Adding: “We, on behalf of the NTB Tourism office, feel the news of the cancellation of cruise ship visits to Lombok is damaging and far removed from the truth.”

Undeterred, the Pelindo III boss confirmed the loss of ship visits due to complaints of seaside trash in Lombok. Saying now is the time for Lombok to rise again and address the problem of hygiene. He acknowledged that Lombok tourism was on the road to recovery, proven by the coming visit of four cruise ships over the past three months.

The four cruise ships calling on Lombok’s Port of Lembar over the past months include: MV. Star Legend, MV. Aidavita, MV. Star Legend all during January 2019 and a return of the MV Aidavita in February 2019.