The two current obsessions of Bali are linked (symbolically  at least). The digital/ social media frenzy, symbolised by www, and the garbage or plastic fixation symbolised by wwww (waste, water and waste water). Maybe the solution is to match them together to create ‘thewastewaterworldwideweb’ project ?

Certainly we need to find a solution quickly because waste is wasting our time and our lives. The ‘Bye-Bye Plastic Bag’s girls did a great job to raise awareness, Coca cola Amatil has done as amazing job employing 75 people for 10 years to clean up the five busiest beaches on Bali. The ROLE Foundation has created good programs, Eco Bali  has pioneered recycling, One Island One Voice is pursuing the commitment of many business to reduce plastic. There is Clean Up Bali Day, B Greener, Refill My Bottle, and so many great ideas and programs, but honestly why is this all necessary ?

In most developed countries the whole process of waste management is institutionalised, enforced, backed up by public awareness campaigns, and organised at a local and regional level to put the emphasis on doing the basic work back to the user but completely organised and enforced by local governments.  Here in Bali we still seem to be rushing about at an amateur level with great enthusiasm but little coordination between the many parties noted above. Yes the government banned single use plastic bags. A great start, but when all the items that would have gone in your plastic shopping bag are themselves plastic or plastic wrapped then the ban doesn’t seem to be enough .

We need to have organised segregation and collection of trash at every single domestic and commercial building in Bali. This will produce recyclable plastic, metal, glass and paper and compostable organic waste. Leaving no more than 20% going to landfill.

It has been done in many countries. It has to be done here now, so we can stop wasting our time on waste.

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair G Speirs, OBE, is the Publisher of NOW! Magazines. He has been in the publishing, advertising and PR business for the last 25 years. He started both NOW! Bali and NOW! Jakarta as each region's preferred community magazine.