The Balinese Addiction to Water Wrapped in Plastic Part III

In the last two issues I’ve been talking about the environmental disaster in Bali that has been caused by single-use plastic, particularly single-use cups and bottles. As I mentioned at the end of my last article, there are, and always have been, alternatives available.

Did you know, for example, that the Balinese have their own traditional filtration system? I learnt about this from a friend of mine, Gede Kresna, who together with his wife, Ayu Gayatri, has Rumah Intaran in Bengkala Village, Singaraja. He is constantly researching about the genius behind traditional architecture and cuisine, and has produced a number of books. He also posts a lot on Facebook and I learned about this water filtration system there.

Basically the system uses black sugar palm fibre, charcoal and sand to filter the water in a large clay urn. The water is poured in from the top and it drips down into another urn where it is potable.

The system that we currently use at home and at Mekar Bhuana Gamelan and Dance Centre are filters from a Dutch company called Nazava. They offer two systems: dispensers of a number of sizes that use gravity; and  filters that are attached to pipes that use the water pressure that come off your tap. The   filter is made from dense, porous ceramic block which filters down to 0.4 microns. The smallest bacteria or parasite known to science are 0.9 microns, so the nasties simply can’t penetrate. Once the water enters the block it also passes through a film of colloidal silver as well as a carbon filter that removes heavy metals and pesticides. Minerals that we need for good health remain, which means that what we drink is not dead water. The result is clean water with no detectable taste.

These are two simple and economic systems that require no electricity and little maintenance. They can both be used in all public settings, such as temples and banjars, with the public encouraged to bring their own tumblers. I’m convinced that these filtration systems are the solution to Bali’s water wrapped in plastic disaster – share with your friends near and far!


By Vaughan Hatch

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