There is nothing that highlights the rapid growth in Indonesia than the amount of rubbish lying around in the streets, outside the perimeter of houses and on bits of common land. Everyone takes pride in their home, but on this island there seems to be little by way of organised rubbish collection. This would be fine if everyone continued to eat traditional dishes but the wide variety of plastic wrapped snackage, often with individually wrapped portions has created an explosion of litter.
One of the easiest things to do while we are here is to grab a sack and wander down the beach to see what the tide has bought up. This is one of those jobs that is much more fun to do in a group, so we wander off hunting lonely flip flops, plastic bags of all descriptions, pot noodle pots and our favourite for upcycling … plastic bottle tops.
Beach cleans are popular the world over, and they show us visibly that the oceans have oodles of plastic in them. The thing that struck us about it, is that the rubbish we collect is so hard to do anything with. It’s often filled with sand, full of some unknown substance or made of something that defies doing anything with like styrofoam.
Luckily inside the nature school there is a basic but functional plastic factory, where the tension built as the smell of freshly baked plastic filled the air, then some frustration as we wrestled to open the impossible moulds and eventual hallelujah if a workable clipboard popped out.
The plastic factory, though rudimentary, will hopefully spark some ingenuity amongst the locals who attend the school. Already there are moulds for making surf combs, used to apply wax to your pride and joy, which can be made and sold to the resident surfer community.