Realising responsible waste management on Bali. It seems like the ambition of Jan Jager, who is a professor (of applied sciences) Circular Plastics, is achievable in collaboration with our students and involved companies. Wouldn't it be great if we could counter the plastic soup together?
The Bali project is an idea by the Circular Plastics-professor himself. "People don't want to lie around in plastic garbage. All that waste originates from the plastic soup: large amounts of plastic (and other) waste that floats around in our oceans and seas." About two years ago, Jan had a conversation with Elsbeth Roelofs, program manager Corporate Social Re-sponsibility (Maatschappelijke Verantwoord Ondernemen) in Utrecht. She told him she was working on this project with Dutch tour operators. The operators were very concerned with the strong decline in Bali tourism. "The story goes that a lot of tourists stay away be-cause of the extreme pollution on Bali's beaches," Jan says.
That conversation with MVO Nederland made the lecturer think. "I couldn't let it go, par-tially because we have an NHL Stenden campus on Bali. We should be able to realise some-thing with them, I thought. The Bali campus offers courses I'm not involved in, like Business Administration and Hospitality Management. Still, we should be able to link them some-how. Our management is also eager for us to connect the academies." Meanwhile, there have been multiple conversations. Jan has exchanged ideas with Peter Joore, professor Open Innovation, and Mark de Jong, location director of the Bali campus. "We all want to get started on it."
Already, ideas about the content and method of the project are plentiful. "On Bali, we will start by making an inventory of current waste flows, and ways to design them more re-sponsibly. In The Netherlands, we are used to the garbage truck making its weekly rounds, but in other countries, that isn't obvious at all. So we will start by researching the possibili-ties for recycling on Bali." According to Jan Jager, inhabitants need to be more aware of their garbage, and the consequences of it. "The plastic soup we are familiar with doesn't just originate from The Netherlands or Europe. Countries like China, Vietnam, and Indone-sia are the biggest polluters. It explains why the beaches of Bali are so befouled. So we need to map and improve the waste collection infrastructure, but we also need to make people aware of ways to prevent their waste from getting on the beaches and into the sea. Other than that, we need to research how to clean the garbage that's already on the beaches." The first contacts on Bali have already been made. EcoBali is happy to join NHL Stenden's Bali
project. EcoBali was founded in 2006 in response to the island's urgent waste management problems. The organisation wants to help all inhabitants to create a zero-waste-lifestyle. In order to do so, more responsible waste management needs to be realised. "And we will help with that. Since it's a complex problem, any results will take a long time, but each step is a start."