During my travels I spent 3 weeks volunteering in bali, a beautiful island in Indonesia. I had a wonderful time there exploring the natural beauty the island has to offer. As well as meeting another like-minded vegan girl who joined me in teaching Indonesian children about caring for the environment. The only 2 volunteers on the programme out of around 100 volunteers!
Discovering secret waterfalls, watching monkey’s in their natural habitat and climbing barefoot through a hidden canyon were just a few of my favourite moments. It’s safe to say Bali was my favourite country I visited in the 3 months I was away.
Bali, although beautiful, is undergoing an environmental crisis. Little do most people know that this small island contains the 2nd highest amount of plastic waste in the world after china. With respiratory illness being listed as the number one killer. The pollution has been a result of the growing tourism, lack of education to the local people and the amount of rubbish that washes up during the rainy season.
Originally banana leaves were used as packaging by the local people. However, as times developed and through tourist influence of their culture, the use of plastic bags took over from the previously used leaves. Local people would originally throw their banana leaves to the ground once used, as these would biodegrade and therefore would not be a problem. Unfortunately Local people still keep up this habit, but this time it’s plastic bags being tossed away. This has resulted in rubbish everywhere on the streets.
Bali is overflowing with rubbish, particularly in the built up touristic area Kuta. I had the unfortunate experiencing of visiting for a night when there was a mix up with our hotels. Needless to say it wasn’t a highlight.
My personal insight of the damage
Just teaching the children highlighted the huge issue with lack of awareness amongst the locals. When presented with these photographs (we found online) of the devastation in Bali (see below the photos I showed to the children) the children immediately denied it, claiming we were wrong, it could not be Bali.
There is no awareness of recycling or the damage plastic does to the environment. Such as releasing dangerous toxins into the air or killing sea life. Nobody understands that it won’t just disappear, its there for the long run.
The time spent with the children was trying and difficult since I found myself having to start from square on. We had to start by teaching them simply why we need the environment, before we could even touch upon how rubbish damages it or what we can do to solve the crisis. Unfortunately, the children did not seem to appreciate the seriousness of the situation; continuing to throw their plastic trash around the school and damaging the surrounding area. It was an eye-opening experience. I now understand just how bad the situation has become in this beautiful island.
Nevertheless I throughouly enjoyed my stay <3
I will be writing soon about the restaurants I discovered whilst there so stay tuned!
Here’s to a better future, until next time, Charlotte xxxx