When I arrived at Jiwa Damai the pressing issue of a lack of infrastructure to manage the large amounts of waste now being produced here in Bali, was quickly brought to the forefront. My initial exposure to this was on my first beach walk from Legian to Seminyak when I noted trash scattered beneath my feet. I was informed here that common practices of disposing trash include dumping it into the rivers or local waterways, burning the trash (plastics included releasing toxic chemicals into the air) or simply creating a trash pile in the backyard. Each of these methods have both environmental and personal health implications that will surely grow worse as production here tries to keep up with mass amounts of visitors like myself. In an effort to begin addressing this issue, our host here at Jiwa Damai has begun a program to educate locals in the village of Mambal on the hazards of the current methods utilized for trash disposal. As well, the volunteers and interns here at Jiwa maintain a weekly schedule of picking up trash from the river that runs through this beautiful property.
Like many systemic problems, this one will take time and collaborative efforts to resolve. For me, it was important to be exposed to a place like Jiwa where I could become a participant in the solution rather than just taking a backseat, as is easy to do when you are just a visitor.