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  The Scourge of Plastic

Plastic is a big problem. In Old Bali scavenging dogs controlled the build up of organic garbage, but starting with the widespread use of plastics in the 1960s you saw for the first time in Bali's history rubbish piles (banana leaves degrade, plastic doesn't).

Today, plastics are everywhere. Even homestays serve water in plastic cups and bottles. After a storm the beaches of Bali are full of plastic litter; plastic clogs rice field irrigation canals. Plastic refuse in drains is a haven for mosquitoes and their noxious diseases.

The population practices a mixed bag of waste disposal - it's either buried, burned, or recycled. Javanese collectors pick up plastic and sell it to recyclers who truck it to Surabaya. Indonesia's environmental minister's wife has urged that every woman take to market cloth bags rather than depend on plastic sacks.

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