The small village of Tulamben is known as one of the best dive spots in Bali. The USS Liberty, a local shipwreck, can see upwards of 100 people per day during the high tourist season. Though this brings in much needed economic support for the local community, tourism creates stress on the local marine ecosystems.
As it is in many other places in Bali, waste management is a challenge in Tulamben, especially during the rainy season. Located at the base of Mount Agung in the North East of Bali, Tulamben is one of the driest places on the island. Rain here is a luxury, and when it comes, it washes the volcanic sediment and inorganic trash that has accumulated in the dry riverbeds into the ocean, burying the nearshore coral reefs.
Recently, the Tulamben Dive Guide Organization arranged a community cleanup to remove inorganic trash from the river mouth at the Drop Off. The cleanup was officially opened by the head of Tulamben Village, Nyoman Ardika, and had over 60 divers participate, including local divers from Tulamben, tourists, nongovernmental organizations, representatives of the East Buleleng community, and Nyoman Musna, a member of parliament from the Karangasem Regency. After the cleanup had ended, about 120 kilos of inorganic trash were from a depth of 17 to 20 meters underwater. This community effort will help reduce the stresses placed on the local marine life by human activities such as tourism.
Though it’s great to see a large turnout from the community for this cleanup, it shouldn’t be necessary to maintain this global treasure.
In honor of Earth Day, you can do your part: consider making a lifetime pledge to not litter and to help clean up trash when you see it. If you’re out for a walk at your local park, pick up that soda bottle and recycle it instead of leaving it for the next person. If you’re on vacation and snorkeling or diving on the local reef, keep your trash in a safe place and properly dispose of it when you return to the shore. Inorganic waste is a human problem and therefore can be solved by humans. Only together can we help create clean water for people, reefs and our home, planet Earth.