For locals residing near Bali’s famous beaches, the new year began on a worrying note as tons of plastic waste washed ashore, keeping them busy in cleanliness drives. Amid all this, one woman’s unique ‘mermaid’ protest to draw attention to the garbage crisis on social media is winning the internet.
In a series of photos, the woman wearing a mermaid costume was seen lying on the beach surrounded by a huge pile of plastic waste, highlighting the sorry state of the beaches in Indonesia, particularly Bali. The photo went viral with several environmental agencies and several communities on Instagram sharing the picture of the unique protest that got nature lovers talking online.
The drone images captured by Bali-based freelance photographer Wayan Suyadnya show Laura, an ocean advocate from Belgium, posing amid the trash at Bali’s famous Kuta Beach. The Belgian native, who is in Bali, said she was dismayed seeing the sorry state of the beach but was glad that many stepped in and volunteered to clean it up.
Calling volunteers heroes, the activist wrote: “The community has risen up to the challenge to protect our beautiful planet.”
However, the activist claimed that just recycling and cleaning is not a permanent solution. In fact, using her photos, she called out big corporations like Coca Cola, Pepsico, Unilever, Nestle among others and asked them to be responsible and stop manufacturing trash.
A ‘mermaid’ was seen lounging in trash as volunteers tried to remove rubbish and plastic from Bali’s famous Kuta Beach pic.twitter.com/ZaAtUoUjGH
— Reuters India (@ReutersIndia) January 5, 2021
“Clean ups and recycling are not the long term solution! Stop making trash and there won’t be trash! Corporations must STEP UP! The world needs you to put the environment before greed,” she added in her post.
In an interview with Coconuts Bali, the 35-year-old activist explained that she wanted to create this visual content to call people’s attention to the issue of plastic waste and consumption, adding that her mermaid stunt was a great way to do it.
“It was just heartwarming to see and that’s when I started feeling hope instead of despair and powerlessness,” she added saying she felt “paralysed” upon seeing all the plastic waste.
Dwi Duarsa, who works with Kuta Beach Management Unit, told Reuters that the person in costume was posing for a drone photography, and then later joined the volunteers with their mission.
Badung City Environmental and Sanitation office told local state-run Antara news agency on Sunday (January 3) that the trash washed ashore on Seminyak, Legian and Kuta beaches since Wednesday (December 30). At least 80 tonnes of waste were removed by the weekend.
Local NGOs and environment groups are now calling volunteers to join in the cleanliness drive to help clean the beach fast.
Bali’s famous beaches are strewn with plastic rubbish in what experts say is becoming an annual event thanks to monsoon weather, poor waste management and a global marine pollution crisis, The Guardian reported.
Marine pollution is a serious issue in Indonesia and every year, it’s famous beaches hit global headlines for wrong reasons as its golden shoreline is inundated with a mountain of plastic waste. In November 2018, a dead whale had washed ashore near Kapota Island in Wakatobi National Park, near Sulawesi, with 13.2 pounds of plastic waste in its stomach.
In April, the Indonesian government launched a plan to dramatically reduce plastic waste in the country, CNN said in a report. It plans to cut ocean plastic waste by 70 per cent by 2025, and go plastic pollution free by 2040.
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