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In eight years, Indonesian companies will have to prove they have recyclable, environmentally friendly packages or their products will be banned. The regulation is a long way off, but Sano is hopeful that its forecast alone will help change minds. “It will be mandatory in 2022, that’s our weapon,” Sano said. “To talk with industry, to help them, to say ‘you know this will be mandatory, let’s do something right now.’” “We have to replicate this everywhere because the waste problem is not just in Bali,” Sano said. “The government is confused about it, they just want to take shortcuts and burn it in the incinerator and that’s very bad for our environment.” The recycling rate in America is 34%. China’s got the Yanks beat with 40% and Down Under it’s 52%. Europe smokes them all averaging 60%, with Sweden boasting 99%. So how does Indo compare? “Indonesia has a 2% recycling rate,” Sano explained. “Where is the rest? The 98%? It’s in our rivers. It’s in our ocean. The value of that waste is huge, huge business. It’s a big opportunity to solve this problem and it will be sustainable if we do it properly. We have to team up together and collaborate.” It’s natural for us to be shocked or surprised when we see trash burning because that’s not the norm where we come from. We forget it was common practice three generations ago. Or five. We’ve since grown up in an educated community that’s enforced certain behaviors and provided the resources to deal with domestic waste, but only after pollution reached a critical mass and hard lessons were learned. We return home to a clean neighborhood, or we like to think so. I’m from NJ, and nobody burns trash

on my street. We have a recycling service. We also have superfund sites in almost every major county, abandoned manufacturing plants and toxic waste dumps with industrial and chemical byproducts of the worst variety. These cleanup projects constantly remind taxpayers of their inherited legacy, as each requires enormous amounts of resources, funding and skilled labor to fix. That’s one state. The United States has offshore drilling, fracking, and other environmental nightmares going haywire in every corner. In China it’s air pollution, in Australia it’s shrinking coastal ecosystems, in Japan it’s Fukushima fallout. And in Bali it’s a recyclable water bottle. That’s what we’re pointing a finger at. It’s going to take time, but the trash here is manageable. It’s a high volume issue but a relatively simple one involving recyclable packaging, compostable organics and treatable liquid waste. “Here my feeling is that we’re pretending things are gonna change spontaneously because there is a fantastic awareness around,” Paola said. “We need to provide roadmaps, solutions, tools. We’re working with a very receptive Balinese community really willing to change, especially the young community.” “I’m not saying it’s already mainstream, but I think there are high hopes. If you work in environment you need to have high hopes otherwise you’re not gonna go anywhere.”


Bali Belly Issue 005