Over 5 million travelers visit Bali every year. When you first arrive, the airport vibe brings holiday mood instantly, makes you feel super excited to see more of the island. Beaches, green rice fields, amazing waterfalls, peaceful temples... In one word – paradise. But then you smell the burning plastic while enjoying stunning sceneries, or as you drive past the mountains of trash that have been carelessly dumped in rice fields. And you start to think, ‘This wasn’t in the brochure.’
In the past, Bali used to be known as Island of Gardens. Many tourists have known Bali as an Island of Paradise – clean and green. However, Bali is becoming paradise buried under tons of plastic waste these days. It’s painful to watch and there are many issues to be solved, in most cases individuals feel powerless. As divers and diving resort, we feel responsibility and urge for trying to do as much as we can to help Bali environment. Read about the eco activities and initiatives that are part of our everyday operations and get inspired and motivated!
1. WE RECYCLE WATER
Fresh water is precious in Bali, foreigners often don’t realize this fact and neither can understand it. We flush our toilets with drinking water in Europe how funny is that? Once you live in Bali, this becomes really ridiculous. Fresh water, not only in Padangbai, but in whole Bali, is particularly scarce. Since our supplies of fresh water are limited, OK Divers decided to recycle water and reuse it again. What that means? It means that we have complicated system of collecting, cleaning and reusing the water, therefore we don’t release the waste water from our bathrooms to the open sea, like most of the business owners around us do. After the waste water goes through our recycling system, we use it again for flushing the toilets and gardening. For the waste water treatment, we use environmentally friendly chemicals and special bacteria cultures. These are able to clean the waste water, so we can reuse it again!
2. WE SEPARATE AND RECYCLE WASTE
You might think - what’s special about separating waste, everyone does that! As mentioned before, Bali and whole Indonesia has a huge problem with plastic waste and people are not used to separate their garbage. They don’t know how, why and most important – where. It’s not that easy to be ecological here, even you do separate your waste at home, garbage cars usually mix them anyway, so at the end your effort is pointless. Therefore it’s not that easy to separate waste properly, but we think it’s worth it to put a little bit more energy into it and make sure the separated waste ends up in the right place, separated and recycled. Except that, we’re recycling and reusing many other things. For example, we provide free drinking water to our guests in refillable, recycled, hand-made glass bottles. We used the old glass bottles, cut them and now they serve as a water jug in every room. This allows us to use much less plastic bottles. And it looks cool. Glasses for welcome drinks after check-in are recycled too, as well as the glasses that we use for the desserts in our restaurant. There’s also free water in our dive center, so our guests don’t have to buy water in plastic bottles, instead they use the glass or refill their own bottles.
Another great thing we do is that instead of white paper, recycled paper is used for all the documents and paperwork when possible and it’s also used on a daily base in our office. Every employee got really nice cotton bag from us as a present, so we can encourage them to stop using plastic bags, especially our local staff. And we have COMPOST!
3. OUR FISH FRIENDLY RESTAURANT WITH REUSABLE STRAWS
It sounds bit weird, we’re located in the harbor, next to the shore, but in The Colonial restaurant we don’t serve fish and sea food. If you’re asking why, it’s because as divers and ocean lovers, we’d rather see the fish and marine life underwater, in their natural environment, than on the plate. We also think that overfishing is a serious problem. Makes sense right?
And what’s with the straws? Well, plastic straws significantly contribute to the ocean plastic pollution and to the plastic waste in general. We use only glass or steel straws and customers can also buy organic bamboo straws with our logo, which they can keep as a nice souvenir and help the environment at the same time.
4. ECO-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS
Our next initiative was to reduce using chemicals, as you can imagine there’s lot of housekeeping work going on in a resort and we also need to satisfy our guests with an appropriate hygiene and cleanliness. We have found a way how to use organic products and detergents for cleaning the rooms, public areas and doing the laundry. All the products are stored in refillable bottles, so we don’t need to use any unnecessary plastic. The towels and bed sheets, which cannot be used for our guests anymore, serve as a cleaning cloths for our housekeeping staff. High quality organic products are used in our Green Spa, too.
Toilettries provided to our guests are solely reffilable, you won’t find any single use soaps, shampoo or bath gel bottles. Room signs are made of wood instead of paper or plastic materials and for activating the electric power in every room it’s necessary to insert the key cards, therefore we save a lot of energy (some guests tend to leave AC on while not in the room).
5. ECO ACTIVITIES
Last, but not least to mention are our other activities, as are beach cleanups, which we join daily. There are also some new projects being planned, in which we’d like to also engage local community, to educate, inspire and motivate…
Despite the fact, that we try to explain and inform our guests about all the eco activities, we’re still experiencing complaints about yellow water in the toilets (even there’s a sign in every bathroom informing that it’s caused by the bacteria in our water recycling system), about absence of fish and sea food in our restaurant menu, even the refillable toiletries bottles often go missing (our guests probably think it’s okay to take them as a souvenir). Anyway, we keep on trying and keep doing as much as we can!
Wish us luck and if you have any good idea to share with us, or any activity to suggest, feel free!