Click here for a picture presentation on the BALI TRASH ISSUE

courtesy of ATMA MEDIA <>

At Shambala we work hard to keep the coral reef clean for guests, to keep the beaches and the walk ways clean. Our entire staff has learned to enjoy a clean environment, and more often than not even at home they now have been including the revolutionary practice of putting trash in the trash can and teaching their young children to do the same.

We have been blessed with having one of the very few protected coral reefs of Bali right in front of Shambala. this is due to the great foresight of the current mayor of Bondalem.

Our gardens are producing lush green and flowering gardens from the powerful compost that we produce ourselves here at Shambala. Composting is a very new concept here.

Here in Bali it is still customary to drop the trash wherever one stands, preferably in one of the gutters, or into the river, the catch all trash conveyor belt.

The fact that everything ends up in the ocean is of no real concern to Balinese. They don’t really like living by the ocean, except for the fishermen who make their living here. The ocean is usually reserved for the ashes of the dead, and has been thought of as a place of danger and a dwelling place for the demons. Trash is a fitting companion.

However, tourists do not like trash. In the West we are about 50 years ahead in our trash education. Although New York ships its trash daily out to sea, and contributes to the huge plastic/trash pile in the middle of the ocean, in general in the Western world we do have the luxury of enough money to pay for trash service and for some sort of trash management.

Such luxury does not exist in Bali. Only in the most populated areas will you find a trash pickup service. In the rural countryside you will see Balinese sweeping the street clean, often into the gutters, or making neat piles and burning the trash. That also means burning the plastic.

The mayor of Bondalem has been trying in vain to convince its inhabitants to pay an average of $.50 a month for trash pickup service. Nobody agrees to pay this fee for two reasons:

  • People simply do not trust the government, and believe that the money will be used for buying a bigger car elsewhere.
  • At the current unemployment rate in this village of about 80% nobody has the extra $.50 to spend for a clean street. The site of plastic has not yet bothered any Balinese person.

Although we can manage to pay for the cleaning of the river next to our retreat center( which is part of a three people collective) as well as pay for the cleaning of the lengthy beach that we are lucky to have here at Shambala, and keeping the entire grounds clean, we do not have the funds to provide the village with trash pickup service.

The picture show that you can click on (see above)  is from a southern beach of Bali after heavy rains brought down all the trash from the rivers into the ocean. I received this slide-show-presentation courtesy of ATMA MEDIA <>

What we are hoping to do is to collect a sizable amount of money to provide funds for the first year of trash collection in Bondalem. In order to do that we need the following:

  • a truck to transport the trash away/ which can also be rented at €30 per truck/per day including a driver
  • ideally some sort of trash incineration system in order to lighten the load of the trash transported to the nearby biggest city Singaraja, which is about one hour away.
  • a dozen of small hand held trolleys in order to collect the trash from the many tiny, small streets
  • salary for about 10 employees that collect trash
  • salary for about one/two  employee/s, that control the funds, and oversees the management of trash pickup
  • trash cans, or some sort of receptacle for each household of about 2000 households in Bondalem
  • one staff for composting education and coordinating volunteer service of the children to help with  the recycle programs
  • composting bins
  • books and educational material to help teach the children at school ( those books already exist here in Bali which are written in three languages: Indonesian, Balinese, and English)

I am sure there are a few more items that need to be considered.

Currently we are looking into a recycling machine that creates liquid plastic out of solid plastic, in order to create other materials, that might be usable by tourists: Such as Buddha statues made out of recycled liquid plastic.

We currently are selling with statues at Shambala made out of liquid recycled plastic.

Obviously all this needs a large fund. If you happen to know in organization that is interested in helping developing nations deal with the trash issue, we will be very happy to be in contact with you.

Please write Ilona Selke at: info(at)

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