Published: September 15, 2022
Officials in Bali have announced that they have implemented a series of steps to tackle noise pollution in Canggu. The news comes just days after they were sent an open letter and petition from local communities calling for action over the noise disturbances in the area. The petition now has over 8,000 signatures and has prompted leaders to discuss solutions.
A meeting was held at the Bali Province Civil Service Offices on Wednesday 14th, September. The meeting was chaired by the Head of Bali Province Satpol PP, Dewa Nyoman Rai Dharmadi. Bali’s most important tourism leaders attended the meeting; including the Head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office, Tjok Bagus Pemayun, the Head of the Bali Provincial Forestry and Environment Service I Made Teja and the head of the traditional indigenous groups for Canggu.
The petition cited that Canggu has become increasingly noisy and subject to disorderly and disrespectful behavior by both business owners and tourists. The area has undergone significant and rapid expansion. Nightclubs, bars, hotels, and guesthouses have all been noted to create disturbances to local people and holidaymakers in the Canggu area. According to the petition, the noise is ‘…worse than an earthquake. This noise disturbance lasts every night until 1AM, 2AM, 3AM, and some bars even until 4AM!’
The petition touched upon not only the noise but the environmental impacts of the disturbances. Arguments state that ‘Many of these clubs and bars are directly adjacent to temples, including ‘Pura Kahyangan Jagat’, some of the most sacred in Bali. And next to it, indecent and disrespectful acts have been occurring, from drunkenness, sexual behaviors, urinating in the temple walls area, and possibly consumption of illegal substances’.
The complaints and petition were taken seriously, and an urgent meeting was called on Wednesday. During the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, officials discussed the complaints, substantiated reports, and agreed on what could be done moving forward. Dharmadi said, ‘We cannot immediately close the place of business. The foremost thing to do is carry out guidance to build a joint commitment to the improvement and development of tourism in Bali because Bali depends on the tourism sector’.
It has been agreed that as of Friday 16th September, the Bali Civil Service will be meetings with entrepreneurs in the area. The community will be encouraged to report any incidences of noise surpassing 70 decibels to the authorities so that they can intervene. Anyone who does wish to file a report can do so with the local police or the civil service.
The next significant agreement was that venues must close operations by 1 am rather than 3 am, as stated in the Covid-19 PPKM Level One Restrictions. Dharmadi said, ‘The decibel limit for sound is 70 decibels outdoors, and the maximum opening time is 01:00 WITA. That’s a maximum of all kinds of [venues]’
The Head of Badung Tourism Office, I Nyoman Rudiarta, confirmed that his teams will visit venues to check licenses and monitor business operations. He said, ‘In the near future we will carry out monitoring with a team from Licensing, Satpol PP, as well as from the supervision and control of tourism. Including friends from village and sub-district officials. We will see how the conditions are there. We must also check the noise level criteria [under] the same understanding’.
Dhamradi said that action would be taken against venues found to be breaking the rules. He said, ‘We start with education and socialization of this agreement. So, if there is a violation, then we will enforce it, of course. We will continue to put forward a humanistic approach’.
There are hopes that this urgent action is a positive sign that all stakeholders will continue to work together. The petition was also addressed to Tourism Minster Sandiaga Uno, who was asked for his insights during a press conference on Monday afternoon.
He said, ‘We hope that with Canggu being established as a digital nomad place, it will also begin to transform [namely that] music is [not played] too late at night to disturb rest. Because people also need peace’. He said that tourism destinations should adjust their rules to ‘respect the surrounding community.