Bali is known for idyllic beaches, beautiful sunsets and natural beauty, but all of that is easily marred by plastic pollution that washes up on the once-pristine beaches. At certain times of the year, it is difficult to find one square meter of sand without trash on it. These locals are trying to do something about it.

A rubbish collector unloads garbage at a depot in Sanur Kaja village in Denpasar on the island of Bali, Indonesia, June 7, 2018. Five years ago, tour guide Wayan Aksara noticed that more and more visitors he showed around the Indonesian island of Bali were complaining about garbage on its once-pristine beaches. Bali’s mounting rubbish problem was also becoming personal for Aksara, who lives near Saba beach—an undeveloped area close to the holiday resort of Sanur, which faces a constant battle with trash washed onto its shores from a nearby river. “Every time we drove around, our guests … would comment about it not being clean and the large amount of plastic,” said Aksara. “They would say the trash is bad, that tourism here is not sustainable, and ask what we are doing about it.” Aksara joined—and is now chairman of—Trash Hero Indonesia, a community group with more than 20 chapters across Indonesia and about 12 on Bali. It uses social media to organise weekly garbage-collection events for volunteers. Aksara, a father-of-two, also gives talks at schools and community events on how to manage waste better. Like many parts of Asia, the Indonesian archipelago […]

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