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Tourism waste is in our hands

Melanie Camaro
Melanie Camaro

An Indonesian who’s trying to do whatever she can to help the country become better.

Jakarta  /  Wed, March 7, 2018  /  01:40 pm
Tourism waste is in our hands

Kelingking Beach in Nusa Penida, Bali. (Shutterstock/File)

Indonesia should not be openly accessible to tourism before people can behave themselves, as this type of exposure is damaging the country’s reputation internationally by degrading the environment and endangering the future of our ecosystem. 

Local administrations must manage their waste with accredited waste management programs and understand that respecting and caring for the environment are crucial and fundamental factors to maintaining tourism. The more accessible our nation becomes, the quicker the deterioration of the environment. 

Within five years, Crystal Bay, a once-stunning beach on Nusa Penida Island, Bali, turned into a mini-port with warung (stalls) and rows of boats docked at the main pier. Tourism requires infrastructure development, which can damage the environment more than we think. 

Read also: Bali's Instagrammable hills you need to visit

We must protect some prime areas of the archipelago, such as the Komodo Islands, which have also been increasingly polluted over the years. Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies should take responsibility by participating in regular clean-ups, as the majority of waste products found in tourist areas are snack foods and instant noodles packages, followed by detergent packages and related non-degradable household products.

In a consumerist society like Indonesia, it is now the producers’ responsibility to also manufacture goods with packages that are environmentally friendly and biodegradable. Schools and universities must have mandatory clean-up programs as part of their community service efforts. Waste is a communal problem and therefore requires communal participation. 

Diving operators, diving crews, national park rangers, polisi kehutanan (rangers), porters and pecinta alam (nature lovers) community groups must take turns monitoring tourist areas and actively participate in reinforcing regulations – including carrying out penalties if certain areas or districts do not cooperate. If the area is not clean, it should not receive tourists — which means no revenue.

The government must be aware that widening accessibility to certain tourist areas will increase the production of waste. Tourism-related businesses must prioritize this program, along with local administrations’ plans of waste management and training, above anything else. If the environment is damaged, there would be no tourism.

Tackle waste management before promoting tourism. People’s behavior can be difficult to change, but the government is responsible for ensuring that our home remains clean. Because that, in itself, is the reflection of our status as a state.

How can we make people realize that the sea is not a big trash can? Start at home. And how can we foster green tourism, whereby we can preserve as many natural habitats as possible without damaging the environment for infrastructure needs? 

There are certainly big challenges ahead. (kes)


An Indonesian who’s trying to do whatever she can to help the country become better.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.