If you have been following my blog from the beginning, you may recall I once wrote about recycling in Japan. I do not think there is any other country in the world with this level of sorting and recycling, and I must admit, it was one of the things that were driving me crazy during the first months. On the other hand, they not only recycle, but also use freely, which means that (almost) every time you buy something, you can get as many plastic bags as you want and a few more… for free.
If you think about France, last year they banned the use of plastic bags, which again was driving me crazy each time I was in Paris (imagine: coming from Japan as I described above).
You wonder why I am talking about recycling while the title says something about paradise?
Here comes the story:
I happened to meet the New Year in Bali, a beautiful tropical island in Indonesia.
If you are from Asia-Pacific, to you it may not mean more than an affordable holiday destination.
If you are from Europe or other parts of the Western world, it gets much higher on the scale, somewhere among luxury holiday destinations for really special occasions.
Even after 1.5 years in Japan, I still think as a European, falling in that second group, just using the benefits of value for money and geographic proximity available to the first one.
While I like Bali and indeed it has many places where you can feel like getting one-foot into the paradise, there was one thing that really shocked me, and that was the amount of plastic trash on the beaches in Kuta area.
It is really sad to see local children playing in the water full of plastic waste, where at times, I was disgusted to put my feet in. Do not think that no one cares, people are cleaning beaches every single day, but the amount of various plastic waste that comes from the ocean (and similarly, the number of tourists flooding the island) is just too big and too continuous to handle.
I do not know if the plastic waste on the beach is only a local problem, or the area suffers from adverse ocean currents bringing waste from other parts of the ocean as well, but having seen all this, I do appreciate much more both the French intention to limit the use of plastic bags, as well as Japanese extreme recycling efforts.
It is our world, which we are successfully destroying little by little. If you think it does not concern you, you are wrong. Today it is a beach in Bali, tomorrow it will be your neighborhood, thus, what we think and what we do matters. Even small efforts eventually add up to something big. Let’s not be indifferent, let’s start from small things around us (e.g. recycle, consume more consciously), so that there would still be places on Earth we could refer to as “paradise”…