Trash the major problem on paradise islands
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Beautiful islands, boasting pristine beaches and stunning natural beauty, may not be the norm anymore for many tourists, as they find themselves confronted by an increasingly common, and unpleasant, issue: trash.
It turns out that trash has become a major problem for many tourist areas across the country.
In West Manggarai regency, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), the amount of accumulated garbage drove activists, students and alumni from the Yohanes Paulus II Seminary in Labuan Bajo — the capital of West Manggarai — to gather there on Friday and, along with local residents, clean up piles of trash around the city.
People went hand-in-hand picking up trash from the city center up to Pede Beach.
Kasmir Nema, one of the seminary’s alumni, said the event was aimed at keeping the city clean so it could attract more tourists and encourage them to keep returning to the region.
“We hope this event will also raise people’s awareness about the importance of keeping the city clean, starting with their homes,” said Evan Rafael from the Plasticman Institut.
Marselus Agot, the patron of the Labuan Bajo Trash Task Force, expressed his concern over the lack of cleanliness in the city, and urged the NTT provincial administration to pay more attention to the garbage problem in the city.
“It [the administration] has never provided dump trucks to take away the garbage,” Marselus said. A number of NGOs later set up a special task force to help clear the trash and raise awareness among local residents to keep the city clean.
Labuan Bajo is virtually and entrance gate to the famous Komodo National Park on Komodo Island, named by the New7Wonders Foundation as one of the world’s wonders of nature earlier this year.
As of April, Komodo National Park had seen an increase in the number of tourists to more than 40,000.
West Manggarai is not alone in terms of facing a garbage problem. Between October 2011 and March of this year, Kuta Beach saw as much as 3,600 tons of trash washed ashore, which is equivalent to a total of 1,200 fully loaded trucks.
The washed-up garbage, which came in many different forms, included plastic containers and wrappers, rubber items, clothing, dead animals, couches and beds, all of which allegedly originated from Java, the most populous and polluted island in Indonesia.
The trash flood on the beach was even published in Time magazine in an article entitled “Holidays in Hell: Bali’s Ongoing Woes”.
Following the article’s publication, a quick response unit was formed and 74 sanitation workers deployed to villages along the 9-kilometer beaches of Jimbaran, Kedonganan, Kuta, Legian and Seminyak.
Workers on the clear up operation are financially supported by the Bali Beach Clean Up program, which is sponsored by a number of village communities and private companies. In addition to them, as many as 200 trash bins are located on and near the beaches, and four tractor trucks patrol the areas.
The Bunaken National Marine Park in Manado, North Sulawesi, is also struggling to maintain its reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful marine parks as several parts of Bunaken Island have become littered with garbage. The level of trash in some areas is so bad, it is threatening the life of coral reefs in the island’s waters.