Menjangan National Park
In the north west of Bali lies a remote part of the island called West Bali National Park. Famous for its deer and endemic birds, the park is still not frequently visited by tourists from the South of Bali. However, Blue Season Bali runs a very small dive center right in the heart of the park, in a luxury resort called “The Menjangan”. Last week we went to the Menjangan to assist dive resort manager Dan in a 3 day beach clean-up.
Although Menjangan offers some of the best (wall) dives in Bali, it still suffers from large-scale littering and pollution from the mainland and from Java. That is the reason why we came to Menjangan with 14 people; among them were DMTs, PADI Instructors, and also Marlies, the winner of this years “Best Dive Job in the World” competition. On the first day after a long 4 hour trip to the National Park, we started with a cleanup in Bajul Bay, right of the dive center’s doorstep. Bajul Bay is home to the fascinating and colourful mandarin fish. We had three groups assigned to clean the beach and the bay, by either snorkeling, kayaking, or just walking. In less than 90 minutes we collected over 10 big bags of rubbish. We were sad to see so much plastic, fishing gear and clothing materials among the rubbish. Although I hoped to classify and identify all the rubbish we collected, we decided that that would take us several days. Remarkably, we found an incredible amount of plastic bags and food wrappers, but also shoes, diapers and fishing gear.
The second and third day were spent in Menjangan island, with its extremely steep and dramatic walls covered with extremely healthy corals and sea fans. Also here the beaches are covered with rubbish so we spent a couple of hours cleaning those beaches. We did this together with staff from the National Park. Although the amount of rubbish we collected was huge, we had the feeling that the National Park was doing the best they could to diminish the littering. I even spoke to Mister Nono, a local who made beautiful bags from recycled plastic. What a great idea bring this problem to people’s attention! If you are interested in those bags or supporting Nono, have a look at his website.
After 3 days of world-class diving we were sad to leave the quiet and peaceful Menjangan. And although plastic pollution is an increasing problem of astronomic proportions, we all felt happy that we did our part to conserve this beautiful paradise in the North West of Bali.