The classic shot of a golden sand beach, fringed by palm trees is the money shot for destinations trying to ramp up holiday bookings. But how often have visitors been left disappointed when they are to discover that the reality doesn’t match the dream?
That’s the problem facing Bali’s iconic Kuta Beach this week after it was swamped by a ‘tsunami of plastic rubbish’ that is defying daily efforts to clean it up. The rubbish slick was washed down by monsoonal rains and stretched the length of the island’s busiest tourist strip, from Uluwatu in the south, through Kuta and Seminyak, to Canggu in the north.
It’s a problem that’s getting worse each year. Thousands of tonnes of waste generated by tourists and locals is dumped illegally in Bali’s inland creeks because the waste collection and processing systems on the island are not up to the task.
Bali’s environment is struggling from the tourism onslaught. And local tour operators fear that if nothing is done, and more pictures like the one above appear on various social networks, the island’s image will be damaged beyond repair.