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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Why Didn't They Ask Evans a.k.a A Rubbish Issue

Why didn't they ask Evans?

These were the words coined by Agatha Christie for her book (also titled the same) in 1980s. Although it was originally about a murder/detective story, it was aptly suitable to summarize my thoughts about rubbish issue in Bali. Why didn't they ask?

I was in one of my rare visit to Kuta beach this afternoon when I noticed they had this big clean-up events. I stayed and lingered. The core idea is how to reduce the garbage in the beach by raising awareness and fund to get beach cleaners and tractors. The culprit: Bali (tourists+locals), and yes, Java. Since it is said that the garbage from Java was carried by ocean current to Bali beaches. As logic as it sounds, I can't help but throwing glances to the monstrous hotel that was being built right behind the stage, in which the MC called as *proof of interest in investment*; and also to the newly built hideous mall/shopping centre/lifestyle hubbub/whatever their tag line is. Where would their waste go, build so close to the beach?

I find it funny that the rubbish issue always comes down to "cleaning up" and "awareness for not littering". How about awareness of the whole situation itself?
- Was the place that they are staying has a good waste management system?
- Was it built in a proper place where the waste can go and the structure itself is not damaging the environment?
- Was the employees happy and well taken care off? Because good employee is more trainable and willing to go the extra mile, thus a much better candidate to rubbish-awareness then their unhappy counterparts

These can be easily asked or browsed upon booking an accommodation. Do people asked this? No. Was looking for a hotel myself for my boyfriend's vacation, and I was so overwhelmed with the number of hotels and accommodation available that I end up just picking a newly-built-reasonably-priced-conveniently-distanced tablet hotels although I were much prefer a cozy guesthouse run by locals (what cozy guesthouse anyway? I think they are extinct already.)

Albeit the obvious drawbacks and clear difficulties, I do think it is still applicable. Bali Buddha provide clear information about where the leftover will be sent (their organic pig farm), and when I attend a delicious culinary seminar held by Bali Tourism Board I was introduced to the concept of "happy ducks" and "happy pigs" by the owner of Casa Luna and Bumbu Bali, a new way of thinking and raising meat for food. If these food places willing to go far for their product, I failed to see why accommodations are not willing to do the same. I held beliefs that tourists visiting Bali must be somewhat well-off or at least educated enough to understand the importance of waste issue, thus a totally green accommodation will be held high enough to ensure an all-year booking.

Will it be expensive? Probably. I would haphazardly guess a waste management system (including to break the dirty water) will cost a fortune. But for the common litter issue, of choosing which to be recycled, which to be used as compost or pig/duck food, which and where to throw the remaining, this doesn't take time nor energy. It only takes willingness and discipline.

Hotels can easily prepare such informations (rubbish recycling and removal), and you, dear valued customer, can ask them to prepare it. Like a certain accommodation in Bali? Nag them, e-mail them, talk to the manager upon arrival. Be curious on where your garbage will go. As annoying as it may sound, it will helps everyone in the long run. Clean hotel has better chance to live longer and get more customer, it will reduce the garbage burden of the environment, and you can always return to this beautiful island. Allow me to re-phrase: Let's ask.

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