Back to Save the Island of Bali from Environmental Degradation

Enviornmental issues in Bali (from the Jakarta Post)

Bali seems like a dream when you first arrive, green and beautiful, with the burning sun, and equatorial showers, making it a natural paradise. Then comes man, and all he brings. Bali is still mostly green, but in areas where people live, those parts are turning grey, with Bali’s new favourite color, ‘grey’ (for cement), coming on strong. How can people in Bali turn back the erosion of soil, the loss of habitats and the pollution of watercourses? A Balinese lady named Ni Wayan Sudji, hopes to change things.

Here’s more fom the Jakarta Post.

Turning Bali into land of gardens

Agricultural engineer, passionate conservationist and head of Bali province’s Environmental Assessment Agency, Ni Wayan Sudji, wants to see a new twist on Bali’s nickname the Island of the Gods.

“In the past, Bali was known as the Island of the Gardens. I want to get Bali back to the way it was — clean and green,” vows Sudji.

And with her background in agricultural engineering specializing in plant conservation and protection using biological, nonchemical methods, Sudji is well placed to achieve her goal for Bali.

“When I completed my studies at Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java, I brought (plant conservation) technology back to Bali. I worked on commodities crops, such as coffee, coconut and clove plantations, introducing integrated biological pest control solutions that only applied chemicals as a last resort. The aim was to develop our agro-industries within healthy environments.”

And while much has been achieved in environmentally sensitive pest control other areas of Bali’s environment are still in much need of attention, according to Sudji.

“The biggest problem is plastic. There is a jungle of plastic out there clogging waterways and in the land environment also. The EPA is working with major supermarkets to reduce dependency on plastic bags with a drive for people to bring their own bags when they go shopping. Supermarkets give shoppers incentives to reuse bags rather than constantly throwing plastic away,” Sudji said.

At the national level, Sudji believes flooding and its primary cause, illegal logging, are the greatest environmental and economic disasters facing the country. “Flooding because of the environmental impact and destruction it causes and illegal logging because of the loss of forest and the flooding caused when the natural filters of tree roots are lost. Topsoil is also lost, reducing the fertility of the soil and washing it into the river and ocean systems, causing additional damage to the waterways.”

Also of deep environmental concern is the management of solid and liquid wastes.

“Waste is a major problem across the board in Bali; industrial, commercial and at the domestic level. This is in fact a problem all over the world. For Bali to be cleaner and greener we all need to work actively and collectively to solve the problem,” Sudji said.

But getting the message on conservation and environmental protection across is no easy task in a developing nation where many people are more focused on day-to-day survival than on protecting their physical environment. However, Sudji has tapped into the grass roots at village level across Bali giving villages the incentive, equipment and training to manage their own waste.

“With the coming of the wet season, the plastic waste issue is highly visible. There is more rubbish floating in the waterways, for example, and this is washed out to sea or blocks drains so flooding occurs. Local governments are assisting communities to clean up and recycle plastic bags and compost other waste before the wet season hits,” said Sudji, adding that the EPA gives communities the equipment needed to process plastics.

“So when communities are actively working for the conservation and protection of their environments we give help.”

An Environmental Awareness Program for villages was established in 2001 and to date 45 villages across Bali have joined the program that addresses on the ground environmental issues, such...

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