Turning the Tide on Plastic Pollution in Bali
Plastic pollution is one of the biggest challenges facing our oceans today. Indonesia is the second largest contributor of plastic debris globally, a problem driven largely by their lack of access to waste management infrastructure.
Bali is a hotspot for marine and terrestrial biodiversity in the heart of the Coral Triangle, known for its iconic rice paddies, scenic beaches, and stunning coral reefs. However, this thriving volcanic island is being threatened by an urgent global problem: marine plastic pollution. Anywhere from 10-27 billion pounds of plastic waste enters the oceans from coastal regions each year. Indonesia is particularly struck by this crisis, as they have become the second largest contributor of plastic debris globally, largely driven by lack of access to waste management infrastructure.
You will work with experienced Earthwatch researchers and staff to measure the effectiveness of a community-based waste management strategy recently implemented in Bali by Plastic Collective. In this program a Shruder (portable recycling machine) is installed in the village. By surveying pollution along transects in public places where these waste management systems are available and comparing it to the amount of waste found in areas that lack this system, you can help researchers determine how effective the system is at reducing the amount of plastic pollution entering the environment.
Join us in a remote and relatively untouched area of Bali to experience the Balinese village of Les, while aiding researchers in combating one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time. With your help, scientists can collect data that contribute to waste management policy and decision-making across the region, and eventually help turn the tide on the plastics in our oceans.
A Typical Itinerary
- Day 1: Arrival, travel to the village of Les, orientation
- Days 2-6: Survey transects in Les and a ‘control’ village, remove threats to wildlife, learn about the Shruder program
- Day 7: Team wrap-up and review of achievements, departure
HOW YOU WILL HELP
You'll walk the beach, recording debris types, categories, and amounts. You'll monitor areas that have received Shruders and control areas that have not.
Meeting the Shruder
You will have the opportunity to see small-scale recycling in action at a community level, learn about the successes and challenges from the local Shruder program managers, and if possible, recycle your own material into a memento to take home with you.
Removing threats to wildlife
As you survey, you may encounter waste that poses a significant threat to wildlife, like soda can rings or fishing nets. You’ll remove this debris to reduce the risk of entanglement or plastic consumption for wildlife.
In the evenings, you’ll be provided with lectures and films about the plastic crisis in Indonesia. Cultural activities will also broaden your understanding of socioeconomic issues in the plastic pollution challenge.
Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.
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