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Beach Cleanups In Indonesia Now Needed For Famous White Sand Beaches

Beach Cleanups in Indonesia, most notably the Philippines and Bali are adding credence to environmentalists’ concerns about the environmental repercussions of increased tourism development.

Environmentalists have for long expressed concerns about the environmental costs of increased tourism in Indonesia. Now, more and more beach cleanups in Indonesia are being organized by both government and private groups, reinforcing concerns voiced by environmentalists that unchecked development is destroying these tourist attractions.

Boracay, from seventh best beach in the world to a “cesspool”.

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has labeled the famous island of Boracay “a cesspool,” citing the chronic sewage problem as a major issue. Boracay is world renown for it’s white sand beaches and once was ranked as high as seventh on Trip Advisors Travelers’ Choice awards for best beaches worldwide.

Environmentalists claim the increased tourism has come at a cost. For decades, the small island has seen hotels spring up with little oversight from the local government, resulting in sewage problems that have prompted the current government crackdown.

Algal blooms blamed for demise of Boracay’s white sand beaches.

Previously, algal blooms had also infested the beach, the boom being blamed on the untreated sewage leaking onto the coastline. This turned off many tourists who had been looking forward to swimming in the island’s pristine waters.

Presently, about 850 establishments have been served orders to show cause for easement violations, as well as failure to connect to the sewerage treatment plant. Furthermore, around 50 businesses have been ordered to close for violations of disregarding rules pertaining to water, waste management and land use.

Philippines’ Department of Tourism wants to close Boracay from July to October of 2018.

The Philippines’ Department of Tourism is recommending that the island be closed to tourists from July to October of this year. This is to help an inter-agency task force perform the cleanup, as well as to look into allegations that local officials were colluding with resort owners in helping skirt regulations.

However, local tribal groups are asking for a reconsideration of the proposed closure, as the subsistent livelihood they and other locals obtain through tourism will be severely impacted by such a closure.

Mass cleanups in Bali organized too.

Meanwhile, an umbrella organization spearheaded a cleanup effort in Bali, Indonesia, a resort destination that is popular with Western and Asian tourists alike. This effort began last weekend, and the mass cleanup will not only move through Bali’s beaches, but also through its rivers and jungles.

Joining the cleanup is a group called Bye Bye Plastic Bags, which was started by two sisters aiming to have Bali ban plastic bags. This organization is representative of the many grassroots efforts that have sprung up to promote awareness and sustainability around Asia’s famous beaches.

Thailand leads the way in recognizing the importance of beach cleanups in Indonesia.

In these cleanup efforts, credit has to be given to Thailand as one of the first countries in Asia to recognize that clean beaches are vital to the sustainability of these tourist spots.

Local fishermen have also engaged in these cleanup actions, where plastic bags will be upcycled into fibers that can be used to create an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional plastic. In kicking off this project, Thai fishermen were able to collect a quarter-ton of plastic waste and discarded nets on the seabed in just five hours.

The topic of beach cleanups in Indonesia stir up debate on Twitter.

Not everyone is in agreement about the cause of the increase in algae, especially in Boracay which has fallen from seventh in 2015 to 25th in 2018 on Trip Advisors Traveler’s Choice awards for best beaches worldwide.


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