Mar 25th, 2010, in IM Posts, by ET
Raising awareness on Bali of the health effects of dioxins from openly burning off rubbish.
Encouraged by the positive reactions on the article about rabies in Bali I might as well spread my wings and continue with the public service stuff.
Everybody who has been on a Balinese road with a motorbike or bicycle at rush hour in the afternoon, when exhaust fumes from automotive vehicles mix with the smoke of burning rubbish on the roadside or in the gutters, knows what an appalling experience this can be. And I expect situations like this won’t be much different in other densely populated parts of Indonesia. In the name of public health I believe something should be done about it, hence this topic for further discussion.
Below is an awareness sheet put together by Dr. Michael Ricos, in an attempt to improve the awareness of expatriates and local communities alike on the negative effect of dioxins on our environment and ultimately our own health.
His main suggestions for community and individual action in Bali:
- Form a committee to start cleaning up dioxins in your village. Make up a list of other people who should be involved, explain the problem and get the support of your community leaders like the Kepala Desa and leaders in your Banjar.
- Educate your committee first about dioxins and burning rubbish. Give a copy of this information to each of them explain to them the risk, and how we ourselves are responsible for producing them. Tell them that to stop producing more Dioxins we must… STOP BURNING RUBBISH!!! Throw rubbish in the DKP garbage collection system not in the river and do not burn it.
- Have regular meetings to make sure everybody understands what they need to do, and for people to ask question. Everybody must understand this is a big commitment and needs the active endorsement of your whole community.
- Talk to everyone in your village, spread the message about dioxins. Make sure farmers and factories in your area understand, they must keep your village safe too.
- Make a target date by which time all the people in your community must be educated about the problem and what can be done.
- Tell your Banjar security when they see people burning rubbish to stop them and remind them about the risk to their health.
- The leaders of your community must be strong and vigilant. Have a continuing program to find out where the sources of dioxin are in your community, mainly burning rubbish but textile dyes and pesticides made with chlorine increase the levels of dioxin in your community.
- Call GUS for more information. We’ll answer your questions, and help you to Stop Dioxin Exposure in your village.
- Have courage and determination it is a big job but the longest journey begins with one small step. And remember always lead by example!! Remember what you stand to win with a successful Dioxin Reduction Program. Less cancer, less disease, fewer birth defects, and more people who can bear healthy children.
For those who are interested in spreading this message in their respective communities a translation in Bahasa Indonesia Pembakaran Sampah Meracuni Masyarakat (PDF) is available:
However, don’t expect too much enthusiasm when trying to change ingrained, even nefarious, habits. When I tried to explain to an old Balinese lady the dangers of burning waste in the open, she only replied:
And how do you suppose we will have to keep the mosquitoes away?