Thanks to media platforms around the world, it’s no secret that, South East Asia suffers greatly from plastic pollution. The structures available in Europe or America just don’t exist. Luckily, Indonesians are stepping up to protect their beautiful island nation from the plastic plague.

There might be a long way to go to tackle the plastic pollution worldwide, but I love seeing initiatives such as this. On August 19th, a nationwide beach clean-up operation, “bersih-bersih pantai”, was declared by the Indonesian Minister of Marine Affairs, Susi Pudjiastuti. This tough lady encouraged people from every island and province to join forces and clean their local beach and issued certificates to honor those who did (Adelaar’s certificate). Of course, many scuba diving liveaboards operating in Indonesia jumped on the opportunity to be part of such a positive movement. Most led by example for the locals of remote locations who may not be as aware of waste management.

The Adelaar team gladly got their hands dirty to participate in this. As the ship was in Serangan harbor between cruises, part of the crew met with the office staff at Pantai Mertasari in Sanur, Bali. Many great organizations and clubs answered the call. Seeing so many young Indonesians filling bags was truly heart-warming. Many ended up being too heavy for them to carry back. This gave me great hope for the future of Indonesia.

The number of bags of rubbish collected by all the different groups present was truly impressive. What was even better was that the organizing NGOs responsibly disposed of the garbage. A recycling program from Bali was also taking part in this event to make sure what could be recycled would be.

But a picture is worth a thousand words…

So here are a few photos of the Adelaar team on cleaning duty. Since I was more focused on cleaning than photographing, there are only a couple. However, I hope this might inspire you to organize or join a beach or neighborhood clean-up where you live or on your next holiday!

To join beach clean-ups during your holiday in Indonesia, there are different things you can do. Voice to your scuba diving liveaboard or resort that you would like to take part in a clean-up. Many operators do not wish to impose this type of “dirty” activity to guests, but would be glad to organize one if people manifest an interest. You can also look up organizations that regularly host beach clean-ups and just show up. A quick search on Google should give you plenty of information. For Bali and other areas of Indonesia, you can subscribe to the Facebook pages of Bye Bye Plastic Bags or Trash Hero in the area of your choice.

-Written by Laura, lover of all things water, passionate diver and ocean advocate