Being a Consious Traveler and Consumer
When traveling through South East Asian countries, it can be quite overwhelming to notice the amount of environmental and social welfare challenges this region is facing. Animal welfare is another pressing issue. Bali is no exception. Considering the amount of visitors Bali is welcoming every year, Bali could be much worse off and there are many people, business owners, and organizations who work very hard to keep Bali a tropical paradise.
Bali has no heavy industry, which is definitely a good thing. But this means also, that the tourism industry and the local population are the main trouble makers here. 4mio residents, 4mio visitors from abroad, and 8mio domestic tourists come here every year - doing their thing. The drastic increase of pollution and traffic - mainly in the tourism centers in the south and Denpasar - are a real threat.
We have all heard that the consumer has "the power" for systems and markets to change. And this is true. Particularly for Bali, because it's such an important industry here. If tourism is a main contributor to the environmental problems, then tourism can also be part of the solution. Has to! If, the tourists and visitors would rise to the occasion, and change a few things in their way to consume and travel, Bali will remain a tropical paradise for the decades to come.
Here are a few "easy to do things", you could apply right away:
- Plastic Bottles. An estimated 30mio plastic bottles are being thrown every month in Bali. Most of them end up in the sea, river banks or in landfills at best. Only a very very small percentage gets collected and recycled properly. We need to reduce the consumption of these bottles (globally). Start by not using them. Use re-fill options. Don't buy the smallest bottles that produce the most waste. Encourage restaurant owners to sell open water (gallon dispenser), tell hotel managers to do the same.
- Plastic bags. Don't use them, if you don't need to. Tell the cashiers, that you don't need them and they are bad for Bali. The ore understand this fact, the better. Although the government has introduced a regulation to charge now for the plastic bags, the 200rp. charged make for too many too little of a difference. The impact is small. At east, it has created the awareness, that they are a bad thing for the environment and in mist cases not necessary to use.
- Plastic Straws. Yes, plastic straws. For what do you really need it? Bali probably throws 50mio plastic straws away every month! That's like half a billion per year. They will definitely end up in mother nature. Tell the waiter when ordering, you do not need it. Or ask, if they have bamboo are paper straws. The more consumers ask for paper straws, the more the business owners will react to it.
- Water consumption. Don't let the water run unnecessarily in your hotel room (sink, shower)
- Take short showers if you can
- Make use of the hotel's offer to only change towels and bed linen when needed. You usually find in your hotel room small flyers, telling you about the hotel's policy and how it works.
- Buy food / snacks consciously. The convenience stores are full of snacks, cookies, crackers, chips etc. Pick the ones that us the least amount of packaging. You will be amazed how much waste you can save.
- Used batteries, broken adapters, electronic stuff, take them back home and recycle them there.
- Please, don't throw your cigarettes on the floor! You would not do that at home neither (hopefully). And particularly not into the water. One cigarette bud contaminates at least 1 liter water
- Don't bring things to Bali, that you know you will throw away during your holidays.
- Go to and support all those courageous restaurants, hotels, and local businesses that use recycling company, use paper straws, sell organic food and products. Because they chose to invest part of their profit and lead the way for others
- Stay away from activities that do make a living on mistreating animals just for the entertainment of people (mainly elephant riding, dolphin watching, sport fishing, Kopi Luwak)
- Chose your dive centre according to their efforts in preserving the marine life. Particularly the ones cooperating with CTC are recommendable. Don't touch marine life, corals etc.
- Use biodegradable soap and shampoos etc. Bring these products along from home, or you can find them in many shows, such as Earthcafé, Bali Budha, etc. THERE IS NO REAL WATER TREATMENT system in Bali, as you might know it. All grey water goes into the ground and sea. No exception. And Bali's grey water is often simply sewage.
- Meat & Fish. We do not ask you to turn into a vegetarian, but please consider that consuming both has a drastic impact on the island and the animal welfare. So maybe let's reduce it a bit. If you would know, how chicken in Bali is raised, transported and slaughtered, you would not eat it. Promise. Did you know that for one kg of shrimps, 21kg other marine life is killed on average. ever seen how the little pics are slaughtered for the famous suckling pig ion Bali?
- Sharing (not lecturing)You can talk to the Balinese whom you meet sometimes, about the importance of taking care of the environment. Kids are very receptive and they often like hanging out with some foreigners and enjoy a good chat. Many Balinese do not yet realize, that their very own way of handling and producing trash, is a problem. Mostly it is lack of knowledge. We spoke to locals who did not know, plastic does not biodegrade! Often it is the system itself. Because what to do, when you do not have the money to pay the trash collectors. Then you throw it into the river banks. If your main concern in life is to find food for your family on a daily basis then concerns for environment and animal welfare reduce drastically.
We are sure, you have tons of other ideas what you could do. Let us know your thoughts (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we shall post all your great ideas here on this page and post them regularly on our Bali Facebook page.