Plastic soup - Bali expo - Tropenmuseum

Paradise behind the scenes

How much of a paradise is Bali?

The tempting travelogues and enthusiastic blogs don’t always tell the whole story. The impact of tourism on the Balinese quality of life is one of the stories you don’t get to hear.

Bali through the eyes of the Balinese

The exhibition introduces you to different Balinese people who tell you how tourism has impacted their way of life on the island. You’ll meet the artist Made Bayak, who as activist and artist draws attention to the problems of plastic waste on the island through his plasticology art.

The plastic soup that emerges in Bali during the rainy season is illustrative of a far greater problem: plastic waste is a worldwide scourge. In early 2018 Rich Horner’s underwater videos of the plastic pollution in the seas round Bali were trending on social media and on television. The videos catapulted the island to the centre of the world’s attention as symbol of a worldwide problem: we are all using too much plastic. The video resulted in a project to rid all the seas round Bali of plastic waste.

In June 2019 Bali instituted a ban on plastic with the aim of cutting plastic pollution on the island by 70 percent. Do you want to learn more about how the pollution originated? Read the article and watch the video by Dutch broadcaster NOS.

Projects to raise awareness

Numerous projects to raise awareness around plastic pollution have been set up on Bali and throughout the world. One of the Balinese initiatives Is the Soul Surf Project, which targets young people as the prime movers to bring about a change in mentality. Through a series of interviews, the exhibition introduces you to project workers Eci, Iluh, Nova and Prema.

You’ll also get to know sisters Melati (15) and Isabel (13), who set up Bye Bye Plastic Bags in April 2013 to battle single-use plastic