Bali's capital of Denpasar produces an massive 5,094 cubic meters of trash every day, an amount that threatens to turn the island into a festering rubbish tip if ways are not found to reduce, recycle and effectively dispose of the unwanted byproducts of modern life.
According to Bali Post, piles of discarded rubbish are accumulating in various locations across the island due to the lack of and adequate armada of trucks that can haul the waste away. Adding to the problem is a tendency for the local population to dispose of their trash on roadsides, rivers and other locations, instead of official rubbish disposal sites managed by the government.
The head of the Environmental Department for Bali, A.A. Gede Alit Sastrawan, told the press that the growing trash problem has the potential of becoming a time bomb for Bali. The growing consumptive and commercial tendency of the population is aggravating the problem, adding to the daily pile of trash produced by Bali. Denpasar 5,094 cubic meters of daily trash becomes thousands of cubic meters of trash becomes over 1.8 million cubic meters of trash in the space of a single year. To dispose of such a massive load of trash, requires a massive public landfill fed by a continual stream of trucks traveling in an endless parade to and from the site. Sastrawan admitted that Bali was being overwhelmed with trash, unable to adequately control and dispose of its daily waste output. "Because of this, the participation of the Balinese public is needed to resolutely handle this problem in order to avoid it becoming a time bomb that is certain to explode," he warned.
Sastrawan cautioned that building a rubbish tip (TPA) is not a simple matter, especially given the lack of available lands and public's refusal to have these sites located in their communities. He called on the public to adopt a more progressive attitude towards protecting the environment by joining forces to keep the environment clean. On a most basic level, the public must dispose of waste in its proper place which will greatly assist those charged with hauling the trash away.
"Equally important," said Sastrawan, "the people must be aware of the need to reduce the volume of trash they produce each day. If every family knew this, the current piles of trash accumulating in various places would be minimized."
To achieve this, he called on the public to adopt a lifestyle based on the "3Rs" – namely: reduce, reuse and recycle. This also includes the separation of organic and inorganic waste products. "This mindset needs to be instilled in the public. One of the major obstacles in promoting recycling is the lack of understanding among Indonesians in the separation of organic and inorganic wastes." Explained Sastrawan.
Legislation exists in Indonesia (Law Number 18 of 2008) stipulating the requirement to reduce waste at source and the need to recycle.
Meanwhile, Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika confirmed that his office is drafting provincial regulations on trash. "At this time we are drawing up a provincial law on rubbish. There needs to be a legal basis first. We have been preparing this step for the last year, but drafting such a law takes time as many elements of the law must be examined.," explained Pastika.
Through establishment of a provincial law on trash the governor hopes the island can live up to its motto of creating a "clean and green" island.
Separately, the spokesman for the province of Bali, Putu Suardhika, said he hoped that the 800 tons of trash accumulates each day from Denpasar, Badung, Gianyar and Tabanan could be converted into an electrical energy source via a "regional waste management center" operating in the Suwung district, near Sanur.
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