Aussie tourists returning to Bali in droves have shared their shock at the rising tide of rubbish overwhelming the holiday island’s main beaches.
Pictures show rubbish stretching for kilometres along sunbathing hotspots, with large machinery brought in to clear the plastic wasteland.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Bali beaches overrun by rubbish
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“It’s a surprise. We’ve been here a fair few times. I’ve never seen it this bad,” one Aussie tourist said.
“Where do we sit these days and have a beer?”
Another said they had expected a “nice clear beach” and were planning on having drinks.
“(We) don’t even know where the chairs are going to sit to be honest,” they said.
Pictures show Legian beach, near where a large crocodile surprised tourists in January, drowning under waste.
Authorities have turned to loaders to help clear the mess, while others have been tasked with raking the rubbish-strewn sand by hand.
Largely to blame for the issue are nearby landfill sites. Some of the region’s largest dumping grounds are just 25 minutes away by boat.
“With these heavy monsoon rains it’s inevitable that a lot of that landfill rubbish, including an immense amount of plastics, will be washed into the ocean and will head straight for Bali,” Indonesia Institute founder Ross Taylor said.
Considering the wet season and return of tourists, Bali authorities had predicted the worst of conditions would be experienced in January.
Indonesia’s volume of waste neared 70 million tonnes in 2021, almost double the amount recorded a decade ago. Plastic waste accounted for 17 per cent of that.
Bali briefly received some relief from its plastic plague during COVID when visitor numbers plummeted from 5.5 million to just 100,000 a year.
Now with tourism back at record levels, experts say the island’s waste systems are struggling to cope.
Taylor said there were things tourists could do to play their part in limiting the amount of waste that ends up in landfill — and beaches.
“Bali has already banned single-use plastic bags and single-use bottles,” he said.
“Go for larger bottles or take your own water bottle from Perth and just top it up at your hotel.”
It comes amid a warning from experts over another danger lurking in paradise, forcing some travellers into hospital.
Grace Fitzgibbon said a bout of traveller’s diarrhoea, or “Bali belly” as it is commonly referred to, left her “down for a good 48 hours”.
“Lots of people were sending me messages on Instagram being like, ‘oh my god, I heard Bali belly is so bad in Canggu right now, it’s taking everyone down’,” she said.
Doctors in WA say there has been an increase in patients returning home unwell and are worried that safety measures that used to be second nature have slipped.
“We always say boil it, peel it or forget it,” Dr Ramya Raman said.
“There are antibiotics that we would prescribe in certain circumstances that our patients can carry with them.”
Indonesia Institute president Robbie Gaspar also warned tourists not to drink tap water in Bali because “it’s not healthy”.