Plans a foot to charge tourists for waste management

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, is working on plans to charge visitors coming to tourism destinations across Indonesia, including Bali, a waste management tax according to local newswires. Waste management, especially plastic waste management, is a growing global problem and one that Indonesia is keen to address. Gapura Bali recently reported Bali’s political will was turning green and the island was set to ban plastic bags in 2019; one of a number of green initiatives aimed at creating a cleaner and healthier environment for visitors and residents alike. But there is a cost for doing the right thing.

The idea of charging visitors to manage the trash they leave is not new. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) solid waste management (SWM) services are determined to a large extent by the amount of funding available for the collection, transport, disposal, and recycling of wastes and effective SWM requires adequate funds to cover a range of activities involving designing and building recycling centres, landfills, and other facilities such as buying collection vehicles, compactors, and other equipment. Operating SWM services are substantial, and have been estimated to account for 20%-50% of municipal expenditures. A number of Pacific Island countries, including the Marshall Islands, the Cook Islands and Palau already charge visitors fees to assist in covering these costs.

Viva report that Minister Luhut believes the cost of levies for handling waste will be pegged at around USD 10 for foreign tourists and around USD 1 for domestic tourists. Koster’s Cultural Tax may double this, but both have yet to be confirmed and ratified by their respective government bodies. According to Bertigar the legal umbrella for the levy is being prepared and reviewed and will appear later as a Presidential Regulation (Perpres).

These new rules are being targeted to be enforced by February 2019. Bali’s new Governor, I Wayan Koster is also planning to charge an additional levy on visitors coming to Bali to preserve Balinese customs and culture. When combined these new taxes could mean an additional USD 20 on transportation and/or lodging prices for foreign visitors. [Gapura Bali December 5, 2018]


Mother and three children killed in Bali landslide

A family home in Batubulan, Gianyar, collapsed into the river below at 6:30am on Saturday morning, killing a mother and three children and seriously injuring the father. The foundations of the house, which was perched above the ten-meter-deep Tiyis River, had become unstable due to heavy rainfall. Following the incident, a joint team of regional police, search and rescue teams, Gianyar Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) and Gianyar Military District Command arrived at the scene of the landslide on Jl. Pratu. The evacuation effort was underway by 8am, deploying around 350 personnel equipped with heavy equipment, hammers and chainsaws, reported Nusa Bali.

Sadly, the outcome of the search uncovered the bodies of four people, named in the same report as Ni Made Lintang Ayu Widmerti, 31, and her three children, Ni Putu Deta Vania Larasati, 6, I Made Adin Radita Paguna, 3, and I Nyoman Ali Anggara Paguna, 2. Six-year-old Ni Putu Deta Vania Larasati, a student of Denpasar Elementary School, was the first victim to be found dead. In the hours to follow, her three-year-old brother was discovered in a sleeping position, curled up around a bolster. “At first we found a pillow. When we pulled the victim’s body appeared,” said Ketut Gede Ardana, Head of the Denpasar Search and Rescue Office, to the source. The youngest casualty, a toddler, was found about a meter away from his mother’s body. The father, I Made Oktara Dwipaguna, 30, was the only family member to be recovered alive, despite being buried under a pile of rubble, as confirmed by Gianyar BPBD chief Anak Agung Oka Digjaya in a report by Kompas.

One of the witnesses to the whole event was the children’s grandmother, Ni Nyoman Martani, 53, who had been outside making her daily religious offerings at the time of the disaster. She said she knew something was awry when she felt the garage door vibrate, “I thought it was an earthquake,” she explained. “I immediately shouted into the house to try and wake up the children and grandchildren, but before I had finished speaking the house had plunged into the river,” she told Nusa Bali. The night before the accident, Martani claims to have had a strange feeling, saying that one of the children had been unusually agitated and unwilling to sleep. Incidentally, local residents living around the Tiyus River have long suspected the waterway to be haunted. According to a different article in Nusa Bali, the riverbank has been the scene of many strange sightings, including several of Kuntilanak, the long-haired ghost who is believed to have died in childbirth according to Javanese folklore.

The sole survivor, I Made Oktara Dwipaguna, is currently receiving treatment at Sanglah Hospital. The hospital’s PR officer, Dewa Ketut Kresna, said that staff had received the patient at 10:20am on Saturday morning, commenting to Nusa Bali, “His condition is currently stable. He has             undergone surgery for abdominal wounds and there is a fracture in his arm. There are also injuries to his face, arms, and legs.” [Coconuts Bali December 11, 2018]


A Culture Census for Bali in 2019 

Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster has announced plans to create Provincial regulations preserving Balinese culture. By elevating cultural conservation to the level of a provincial law, Governor Koster says a pillar of the Island’s economic development can be promoted and protected. As reported by NusaBali, the Governor told the Bali Cultural Congress meeting in Denpasar on Tuesday, December 4, 2018: “Bali is not like other regions that have natural wealth that will disappear over time if continually exploited. Bali, on the other hand, has a culture that the more it is used and shared, the more it will continue to blossom and develop. Therefore, I want to protect Bali’s culture under the law.”

Koster explained that the advancement of Bali’s culture forms the first dimension of his vision and mission for the development plan for Bali 2018-2023. Adding: “The richness of Bali is its unending culture. For that reason, it must continually be exposed and protected.” Koster outlined some of the work programs included in his vision of “Nangung Set Kerthi Loka Bali” (“Safeguard the Sanctity and Harmony of Bali’s Nature and Culture). “One of the programs I have   introduced is the use of the Balinese language and Balinese traditional costumes on Thursday of each week at all government agencies and offices in Bali,” Koster explained. In the future, Koster hopes that Bali’s development will be based on its culture and “local wisdom.” Adding: “I want the culture of Bali to become the Island’s main commodity in order that we are no longer completely dependent of the tourism sector. In this way, we can develop other sectors, such as agriculture.”

Separately, Koster is recommending that a culture census be carried out in 2019 to create an inventory of all aspects of Balinese life connected with Balinese culture. The Governor wants a comprehensive inventory of dance forms, gamelan, statues, significant architecture, textile weaving, performing arts and alike. With a comprehensive inventory of cultural assets in hand, Koster said a corresponding map can be created that will enhance the welfare of the Balinese people. The proposed census can involve active contributions by places of higher education and university students doing work experience.

By encouraging the use of Balinese costumes every Thursday and also for those employed on the organizing committees of national conferences held in Bali, Governor Koster is certain the local textile and fashion industries can be stimulated and the related products can be sold at higher rates. Koster is also seeking that office sign boards and road side banners can also incorporate the use of Balinese script. This will encourage the use of the Balinese language and create future employment for young Balinese who have mastered Balinese. [www.balidiscovery.com December 9, 2018]


Seriously injured Queenslander to be flown from Bali in ‘flying ICU

A Queenslander suffering from serious head injuries after falling off a motor scooter in Indonesia will be flown home by an RACQ LifeFlight jet. Emergency medical retrieval experts had landed in Bali to help the injured man after the Air Ambulance Challenger 604 jet was called to Indonesia on Thursday night. The man remains in a serious condition after he fell from a motor scooter in the early hours of Sunday morning. He and his parents were set to be taken to Queensland and were expected to land in Brisbane on Friday night.

RACQ LifeFlight’s executive manager of Air Ambulance Jets, Tim Healee, said the flight back to Australia would be undertaken at a low level due to the man’s condition. “In this case, we’re flying the aircraft at a lower altitude, which means that we can keep the cabin at a sea-level pressure, which helps reduce the pressure changes on the patient,” he said. “We carry a doctor and a nurse and they’re very experienced both in emergency and high acuity medicine, so basically it’s like a flying intensive care unit.” [Sydney Morning Herald November 30, 2018]


Denpasar calf-slasher seized by police

Thirty-three year old Balinese man I Gusti Made Susila has been arrested for Monday’s mindless knife attack on Denpasar schoolgirl Anak Agung Pratama Dewi. The assault, which took place in an alleyway off Jl. Gunung Penulisan in Denpasar, occurred around lunchtime on Monday as the teen was walking home from school. “The perpetrator followed the victim, his head and face covered with a helmet and a mask. When nobody was around, he pulled out the knife and cut the victim’s legs until she was injured,” recapped an official in a report by Kumpuran.

Susila quickly fled the scene after the attack. Police have since discovered his jacket and mask, dumped at the Batanta Dam after the crime was committed. Shocked and wounded, the sixth-grade student was helped back to her home in Jl. Imam Bonjol by local residents. ”The victim told me that before being slashed, a man riding a Yamaha Jupiter motorbike with small frame and dark skin had twice teased her,” said an unnamed source to Kumpuran. The incident was reported by Dewi’s parents on Monday. Having secured the knife, helmet and motorbike as evidence, police arrested Susila at 3:30pm yesterday at his place of work on Jl. Majapahit, Kuta, reported Bali Post. [Coconuts Bali December 5, 2018]


In the dark from time to time until January 2019

Bali’s power grid was reduced by 125 megawatts (MW) on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, due to maintenance being carried out at the Steam-Powered (PLTU) Electrical Generating Plant in Celukan Bawang. NusaBali reports quoted the general manager of PT Indonesia Power in Bali, I Gusti Agung Ngurah Sabawa Putra, who confirmed maintenance was under way on Network Units I, II and III that will cause power limitations from time to time until early January 2019.

With the maintenance underway at PLTU Celukan Bawang, the electrical supply for all of Bali will be reduced by 125 MW or 10% from a total normal supply of 1,228.7 MW. The remaining supply of 1,103 MW is perilously close to the nighttime peak consumption level of 900 MW. The State Power Board (PLN) in order to prevent blackouts is asking the public to conserve the use of electrical power through early January 2019, especially between the hours of 6:00 pm until 10:00 pm. PLN is also pledging to do all possible to accelerate the completion of routine maintenance at PLTU Celukan Bawang. [www.balidiscovery.com December 9, 2018]