Updated: Nov 2, 2020
No matter where you travel in the world, you will always notice areas in need of improvement in conservation and waste management. Tourism development has especially become a topic of interest due to the worldwide shutdowns of COVID-19. Everyone is looking for new answers that not only keep travellers safe but also support the environment.
Indonesia: A fishing culture through and through The islands that make up the beautiful country of Indonesia are full of fishing villages. Fishing is in the people’s blood. Unfortunately, this means that many of the beloved ocean creatures like manta rays and sharks have fallen prey to the hunt. Over the years, the ocean has been a provider of food and economic sustenance for the local people. Only recently have worldwide organizations been able to help protect sensitive species and ecosystems from falling apart. Indonesia is home to over 100 marine protected areas which include over 15 million hectares of ocean. In order to keep the Indonesian fishing culture alive, more sustainable fishing practices have been adopted. However, it’s not a perfect system and there is a lot of work to do. There is still a constant need for regulating harmful practices like bombing and pelagic life hunting.
Developing eco-tourism post COVID-19 Indonesia is only just beginning to develop as a top travel destination and will need to make changes in order to stay relevant as COVID-19 regulations become standard. Ecotourism is still not established country-wide, but new practices are becoming standard. The Indonesian culture is still very much attached to its single-use plastic products. However, you can see in some places, a reduction in plastic use or attempts at completely banning unnecessary plastics. It’s still common to find waste on the beaches all over Indonesia, but tourism has guided a need for change within the country.
Scuba diving and conservation The scuba industry has been a big part of this change. Dive tourism has shown the value of creatures like manta rays and sharks alive vs dead. It has increased awareness of the chemicals and products that are used in and out of the water. It has also encouraged the creation of new, local brands whose goal is to stop the pollution. Several companies from Bali and Lombok are making noise on the conservation front by making more eco-friendly products. Companies such as IbuBumi make goods locally and use sustainably responsible resources, all of which are packaged completely plastic-free. Origin, which is based out of Lombok, makes all-natural soap and sunscreen products which can be found on dive boats all over Indonesia. Local clothing and other textile companies are also welcoming in fabrics made from recycled plastics.
Change depends on education Outside of commerce, organizations such as Trash Hero are doing their best to educate the next generation. They do this by leading classroom sessions to teach kids about wildlife and their importance to human survival. Trash Hero also leads regular clean up groups all over Indonesia where both locals and foreigners come together to make a difference. There is still a long way to go on this conservation journey for Indonesia. There is a desperate need for proper waste disposal and recycling programs for the major tourism hubs. These needs are being fought for in person, with the local and national government, but will take time due to the economic burden of establishing the necessary infrastructure.
What’s going on here at Azul Unlimited in Komodo? Here in Komodo, we have a strong Trash Hero program which educates the kids and gets local businesses connected with the future generation. The pushing force behind environmental programs in Komodo is the dive operators. Komodo is a premier dive location and as such, many of the dive shops in town are involved with organizations like Green Fins and Project AWARE. In our shop, Azul Unlimited, we participate with Trash Hero and support local businesses by selling eco-friendly products at our shop. We also serve vegetarian meals on our dive boat and stay away from single-use plastic products in our operations. Project AWARE is also very important to our team. We regularly go out to monitor and clean up waste at our Adopt a Dive Site: Batu Bolong (as well as other sites around Komodo) and teach the Project AWARE specialities such as Shark Conservation. These specialities are even available completely online during quarantine! If you want to participate in online theory with one of our professionals or go diving in Komodo, send us an email! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you are interested in diving in Komodo, check out our website for details on daily dive trips and PADI courses (https://azulunlimited.com). Connect with us on YouTube for scuba diving how-to’s and diving nonsense (https://bit.ly/2y7Se24) as well as Instagram (https://instagram.com/azul.unlimited/).