This photo has been making the rounds in the Bali community―a perfectly captured moment of men offloading garbage from a truck next to a temple gate in Central Bali. If you look closely you can see the men doing the offloading by hand and adding to the mountain of trash while smoke generated from the burning waste billows skyward, highlighted by rays of sunlight pushing through the foliage overhead.
The juxtaposition between the temple―a symbol of the upmost cleanliness and holiness―and the huge pile of burning garbage perfectly shows the challenge that Bali is currently up against. With it's ever-growing tourism sector and millions of visitors per year, proper waste management systems need to get nailed down and local habits need to change, or else waste will start to creep towards Bali's pristine landmarks and ruin it all.
If you've never been to Bali, just imagine a place filled with jaw-dropping rice terraces, sunsets, waterfalls and beaches; a place where you can turn the corner and suddenly find a ceremony where hords of locals dressed in white have their hands placed at their foreheads in prayer and priests chant in low, hypnotic tones. The scent of frangipani flowers and incense fills the air and stimulizes your senses. It is a truly inspiring place, and helping to minimize the waste problems faced here is one of the main reasons Indosole was founded in the first place.
The photographer has chosen to remain anonymous but gave us this message: "I have yet to capture a scene this year that so succinctly encapsulates one of Bali’s core challenges in 2016. Feel free to share as far and as wide as you like. I just want the message to get out there that we have to do something about this or beautiful Bali will be a thing of the past."
If you haven't already, please sign the online petition of our 'Good Humans' Bye Bye Plastic Bags who are on a quest to have plastic bags banned on Bali island (you can watch their global TED talk here). They are making great strides with the local government to educate local communities and get this policy into effect.
Remember, Bali isn't the only place that could be spoiled due to our careless habits. Globally, there are many places that could be ruined―no need to think too far, just think about your closest picnic area or local beach. Change starts from within, and we hope you'll make it your goal (as we are!) to take baby steps to minimize your daily waste output further.