While the beaches of Bali are largely free of Australian tourists, the normally picturesque coastline of the popular Indonesian tourist island is now covered in tonnes of rubbish instead.
Authorities say between 30 and 60 tonnes of trash is being collected from Bali’s best known beaches each day.
Trash regularly invades Bali beaches at this time of year when the monsoon season begins, but authorities say it is worse than previous years.
More and more plastic is ending up on the beaches and despite efforts to clean it up, the image of Bali – at a time when its economy has been brought to its knees due to the coronavirus pandemic – is being tarnished by photographs showing the rubbish strewn across the sand.
Wayan Puja, from Badung's environment and sanitation agency – which covers the Kuta, Seminyak and Jimbaran beaches, says the trash just keeps coming.
“We have been working really hard to clean up the beaches, however the trash keeps coming,” Mr Wayan told AAP.
“Every day we deploy our personnel, trucks and loaders.”
He said more than 30 tonnes of rubbish was removed on Friday from beaches in Kuta, Legian and Seminyak, and the amount doubled to 60 tonnes on Saturday.
Mr Wayan said while rubbish flooding onto Bali beaches was a regular phenomenon at this time of year, due to weather conditions, it was getting worse.
Dr Gede Hendrawan, the head of the Centre for Remote Sensing and Ocean Scienes at Bali’s Udayana University, said the biggest problem was Indonesia’s ineffective rubbish handling systems.
“The biggest problem is actually the trash handling hasn’t been effective in Indonesia. Bali has just started to reorganise it, also Java has just started,” he told AAP.
Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster urged serious action to clean up the beaches, which are a huge tourist drawcard.
“The Badung administration should have a trash handling system at Kuta Beach that is complete with adequate equipment and human resources so they can work quickly to clean up the trash washed onto the beach,” the governor said.
“Moreover, in the rainy season when there are tourists visiting, the trash handling systems should be working 24 hours a day. Don’t wait for tomorrow.”
Thousands of Australian tourists would normally be in Bali on holiday over summer, but the coronavirus pandemic has halted overseas travel and there are few visitors.
Indonesia has also closed its borders to all foreign arrivals from January 1 to 14 in a bid to halt the spread of the new strains of Covid-19.
Bali’s economy has been hard hit by the pandemic which has decimated its tourist industry with only domestic arrivals now dwindling in.
Siblings Rizkika Arshanty and Rizkella Triara, from Jakarta, told AAP they were disappointed to visit Kuta beach and find it inundated by rubbish.
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