Bali’s Growing Waste Problem, 50% of Tourist Levy Funds to Be Utilized

waste problem in Bali
waste problem in Bali (photo: kompas)

The waste issue in Bali has evolved into a complex and pressing problem, presenting significant challenges. In response to this escalating concern, the Bali Provincial Government is formulating a strategic plan to utilize a substantial portion, between 50% and 70%, of contributions from international tourists, totaling Rp150,000 per visitor, to establish an emergency waste management program.

This levy is substantiated by Regional Regulation No. 20 of 2020, specifically pertaining to the financial contributions from foreign tourists. This progressive approach is slated to be enforced in the year 2024.

The Acting Governor of Bali, Sang Made Mahendra Jaya, underscored the imperative need for this financial allocation from tourists. The core reason behind this approach is the acknowledgment that managing waste comprehensively and employing state-of-the-art methods demands a substantial financial commitment. Relying solely on the budgetary allocation from the regional administration would, in this context, be insufficient and protracted.

Simultaneously, Bali has reached a critical juncture in its waste management predicament. Two Final Processing Sites (Tempat Pemrosesan Akhir or TPA) have suffered ignominious fates, as they succumbed to flames. These fires can be traced back to the cumulative waste buildup that had transpired over the course of several years, culminating in combustion during the parched zenith of the dry season.

Mahendra Jaya expounded on the strategic utilization of contributions from foreign tourists in a statement released on Tuesday, dated the 17th of October, 2023.

“We will allocate a significant portion of the contributions from foreign tourists, which will be in effect in 2024, for waste management in Bali. Perhaps 50%-70% for waste management,” he emphasized.

This approach has the potential to bestow Bali with a substantial annual revenue, estimated to be as high as Rp900 billion, facilitated by an influx of approximately 6 million foreign tourists. If this financial injection is primarily directed towards waste management, it would translate to an annual budget allocation of Rp450 billion specifically earmarked for this purpose.

Mahendra’s vision and aspiration are clear: he aims to ameliorate the waste issue in Bali by the year 2024. This ambitious goal hinges on the pivotal influx of funds contributed by the tourism sector.

The earmarked budget is slated to bring about a fundamental transformation in waste management, fostering optimization at the community level. The intent is to empower all villages in Bali to acquire the expertise necessary for independent waste management.

In tandem with the paradigm shift in waste management, Mahendra advocates for a source-based approach, emphasizing the importance of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Waste Management Sites (Tempat Pengelolaan Sampah Reduce, Reuse, Recycle or TPS3R) and Integrated Waste Management Sites (Tempat Pengelolaan Sampah Terpadu or TPST).

Furthermore, Mahendra issues a poignant call to action, urging the residents of Bali to glean insights from the recent fire incident at the Suwung TPA. The consequences of this event reverberated in the air quality of Denpasar. It is Mahendra’s steadfast belief that a fundamental shift in the paradigm of waste management must be instilled within the community, spanning across all levels, from schools to the general populace.

“This paradigm shift should start in schools, including primary, junior high, and high schools. We request that schools be able to independently manage it, especially organic one, by adopting modern methods, such as compost pits, to minimize waste dumped in TPAs or TPS3Rs,” affirmed Mahendra, underscoring the necessity of holistic and transformational change.