Work with scientists and local communities in Bali to find real-world solutions to plastic pollution

Plastic pollution is one of the biggest challenges facing our oceans today. Indonesia is the second largest contributor of plastic debris globally, a problem driven largely by their lack of access to waste management infrastructure.

The world’s oceans form one of the most biodiverse and productive ecosystems on the planet, yet they’re choking on a devastating array of plastic pollution, with everything from candy wrappers to industrial fishing nets found floating in surface water. This pollution ends up in the ocean when it is “mismanaged” – or improperly disposed of – which can happen for a variety of reasons, from a lack of awareness about the impacts of littering, or a national-level lack of accessible recycling and waste processing facilities.

Southeast Asia, and Indonesia in particular, is struggling with plastic pollution, as waste management infrastructure is often flawed or non-existent. While the plastic waste threatens biodiversity, fisheries, tourism, and ultimately livelihoods, there is no simple solution.

Join our Earthwatch scientists to help combat this global problem by testing the effectiveness of a community-based recycling solution in two Balinese villages, Les and Penuktukan. On this expedition, you’ll be collecting data on types and amounts of debris, and helping remove waste that poses a significant threat to wildlife. You’ll also be monitoring the two villages – Les, where “Shruder” machines are being used to recycle and repurpose plastic waste; and Penuktukan, which has yet to receive the machines – gathering data on the impact their approaches have on managing plastic waste.

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Read the Earthwatch briefing document to find out more about the research, daily life in the field, accommodations and food, and travel planning and tips.



Les and Penuktukan villages, Bali, Indonesia



Includes accommodation, meals, transfers, insurance and research activities


7 days


16-22 April 2021

Activity Level


Lead Scientist

Professor Steve Smith, Southern Cross University