Car Free Bali – Sundays Return to Denpasar
On Sunday, 18 September 2022, the four-lane road on Jalan Niti Mandala was closed to vehicular traffic from 6:00 am until 10:00 am. Like Sundays before the pandemic, “Car Free Day” was suspended two years earlier, ending an event where the public often turned out to walk, run, exercise, and ride bicycles.
Quoted by the National News Agency Antara, a Denpasar resident Koming Sukerti (48), who was jogging on the roadway with his family, said: “I am delighted (at the reopening) because I have long wanted to use our free time to exercise with my family, but this was not possible until the road was reopened again for our use on Sundays. I hope that ‘Car Free Day’ (CFD) will continue, so there is a place for young people, families, and people like me can again perform exercises in public.
Another member of the public from Desa Lebih in Gianyar, Eka Putra Hamanda (24), said, “I enjoy the CFD that has been absent for two years and hope it will continue every Sunday morning.” He expressed his wish that the activities on the roadway and the adjoining park could also be expanded to include culinary contests, clothing exhibitions, and children’s games. (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
On Sunday, 18 September 2022, Dewi Wahyuni, who operates the Yan Renon Food Stall, reported that between 6:00 am and 10:00 am each Sunday, she targets to generate a turnover of Rp. 3 million in food Sales.
Each Sunday, 60 personnel from the Transportation Department (Dinas Perhubungan), Bali Police, Satpol PP, and Pecalang will be on hand to safeguard the CFD. (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
Indonesia on the Verge of Becoming Endemic
Beritasatu.com reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is at hand. In Indonesia, the pandemic is relatively under control and about to transition to an endemic phase of the disease. WHO reminds vaccination programs against COVID-19 need to be continued and intensified to ensure that the current downturn in the virus does not become an opportunity for a new variant of the coronavirus to enter.
The Indonesian Ministry of Health spokesman, Dr. Mohammad Syahril, admitted that there are already regions of Indonesia that have managed to achieve 100% levels of first and second dosages and 50% levels of third booster shot administration in areas such as Bali and Jakarta.
Based on the WHO standards, for any region to be declared “endemic,” – the parameters of success are not solely linked to vaccination levels. Dr. Syahril told Beritasatu.com on Sunday, 18 September 2022, that other parameters for qualifying for a standard of endemic regions must also demonstrate:
- Levels of illness and hospitalization must be below 5%.
- Levels of fatalities must be below 3%.
- The trend for the level of community transmission and infections must be below 1.
- The positivity rate must be below 5%.
Dr. Syahril recommends that the public follow official health protocols, especially concerning wearing masks and vaccination programs, to eliminate the disease. (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
The Indonesian representative of the Ministry of Health reminded that although there are signs that the pandemic is within reach and coming to an end, COVID-19 continues to exist, meaning that health protocols must remain in place.
To that end, Syahril explained that the “true end” of COVID-19 will depend on human behavior in Indonesia and globally. International adherence to mask wearing and vaccination must be maintained until such a time as the pandemic can be declared officially “over.“
Continuing, Syahril said that WHO has given six homework assignments that must be completed to end COVID-19 finally. Adding: “If we don’t remember to keep public health protocols in place, Indonesia will lose this golden opportunity.” (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
The WHO has established six simple policies that must be followed to end COVID-19. Those six policies are:
- Testing and sequencing.
- Ensuring a good system is in place to treat COVID-19.
- Being prepared for sudden surges in new cases.
- Taking preventative steps to treat the disease and keep it under control.
- Keeping the public informed on the subject of COVID-19.
Downloaded from data provided by the Indonesian Ministry of Health, the number of national vaccinations as of Sunday, 18 September 2022:
- first dosages total 204,320 (87.07%);
- second dosages total 170,930 (72.84%),
- third dosages (booster) total 62.6 million (26,68%) from a targeted audience of 234.66 million.
Focusing on three key areas in Indonesia:
– First Dosage: above 100% (12.67 million dosages)
– Second Dosage: above 100% (10.79 million dosages)
– Third Dosage: 53.32% (5 million dosages)
– First Dosage: above 100% (4 million dosages)
– Second Dosage: 96.47% (3.64 million dosages)
– Third Dosage: 56% (2.11 dosages)
– First Dosage: 99.49% (1.79 million dosages)
– Second Dosage: 85.34% (1.54 million dosages)
– Third Dosages: 40.75% (734,569 dosages)
Restoring Peace and Quiet to Bali’s Shores
The growing number of entertainment night spots in the Seminyak, Kuta, and Canggu corridor of Bali and the resulting noise pollution that occurs almost every night, lasting until the early morning hours, has become a source of constant anger and upset for those living in the areas.
As reported by Balipost.com, residents have published an online petition to the attention of President Joko Widod and Bali Governor Wayan Koster, demanding firm action to eliminate the general disruption and extreme noise pollution found in North Kuta – such as Batu Bolong, Brawa, and Canggu. (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
In response to these complaints and the resulting publicity, the Chief of the North Kuta Police Precinct, Police Commission Putu Diah Kurniawandari, said on Tuesday, 13 September, that his force will coordinate with the Badung Regency Enforcement Agency (Satpol PP Badung) to visit local night spots and recommend that music volume be reduced starting from 10:00 pm.(Main Article: Car Free Bali)
Local public ordinances and zoning laws stipulate outside amplification is forbidden, limiting amplified sound to enclosed sound-proofed interior spaces, specifying curfew hours by which amplified music must cease, and a specific outside decibel limit of 70 decibels in areas surrounding Bali night spots. Other local zoning laws stipulate minimum setback distances from the shoreline for construction to preserve open public access to the seas.
Much to the chagrin of residents in this area and the general public in Bali, these rules are seldom applied or enforced by enforcement agencies, with officials disingenuously claiming they lack the proper authority to take action against violating business. (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
Meanwhile, environmentalists are blaming noise pollution in beachside areas as being destructively harmful to sea life ranging from whales, porpoises, the general fish population, and nesting sea turtles.
A resident describes how the Batu Bolong and Brawa Beach areas of North Kuta are disturbed by open-air entertainment venues.” Every night, every weekend, every month, both before and after the pandemic, people report they cannot sleep at night. After 10:00 pm, noise booms out from open-air bars adjacent to sacred Balinese temples. The noise makes windows and doors vibrate. It’s worse than an earthquake.” The resident continued, saying the noise pollution happens every night until 1, 2, 3, or sometimes 4 am. (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
The online petition published at Change.org originated by P. Dian on behalf of the people of Bali and, particularly, the people living in the Canggu. The petition area addressed to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the chair of the PDIP Parti Megawati Seokarnoputri, Bali Governor Wayan Koster, the Regent of Badung Regency I Nyoman Giri Prasta, the chairman of Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (PHDI) Major General (Ret) Wisnu Bawa Tenaya, working chairman of PHDI-Bali Nyoman Kenak, traditional chiefs (kelian) in Canggu and Berawa, the provincial head of Bali Enforcement Agency (Kasatpol PP Provinsi Bali) Dewa Nyoman Rai Dharmadi, and the head of Kasatpol Badung I Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara. (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
The petition has accumulated more than 8,000 petitioners and remains online, still garnering more signatures at Change.org .
One petitioner commented: “We sincerely request the government immediately enact strict regulations with official and severe sanctions, with strict monitoring by the Public Order Enforcement Officers. We can no longer remain silent because our beautiful island of Bali can still be saved. Rioters are obliterating our sacred culture for the sake of their businesses solely at the expense of the interests of thousands of other people and the ‘basic human rights of most people to rest,” one petitioner wrote.
“Other countries have formal rules that forbid loud amplification after 10:00 pm. In these locales, violators are subject to strong penalties and can even have their businesses closed, licenses revoked, and doors sealed,” said a police spokesman. (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
Residents also complain that the beach area is becoming known for outrageous and immoral acts, causing many local people to abandon their homes in search of more peaceful surroundings. Petitioners cited a pattern of actions at area bars, including public intoxication, public sex acts, and urinating on temple grounds. (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
Police officials and residents cite the growing number of new large beach clubs with capacities for thousands of tourists as the worst contributors to sound pollution. One new open-air night spot – Atlas Fest – is Asia’s largest beach club and entertainment center. Finns Beach Club – one of several competitors – claims to have hosted 10,000 guests for its 2021 New Year’s Eve Party.
In response to the petition getting international press coverage, the head of the Badung Enforcement Agency (Kasatpol PP – Badung), I Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara, announced his office would coordinate with the Provincial Government of Bali on the extent of any violations committed by the night spots. These investigations will specifically focus on Home Affairs Minister Directive No. 42 of 2022 and Bali Governor Regulation No. 16 of 2016, which regulates amplified sound. (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
Generally, acceptable maximum continuous sound levels in residential areas are 55 DBA – a decibel level roughly equivalent to the sound of a vacuum cleaner. Business and entertainment areas increase the maximum sound level to 70 DBA – a decibel sound level compared to the sound of a dishwasher or washing machine.
Currently, restaurants and bars are allowed to remain open until 2:00 am, stipulating that volume levels will be dramatically reduced starting from 10:00 or 11:00 pm. (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
What The Petition Says
The petition is still available for signature at change.org and addressed to both national and provincial leadership, made the following points:
∙ The people of Bali, including those in the Canggu area, who have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, are now suffering after the pandemic from the practices of beachside night spots.
∙ Bali’s reputation as a place of beauty, spirituality, and culture is threatened by the behavior and practices of “loud, rowdy bars, beach clubs, night clubs, with ugly behaviors happening right next to our residences and next to sacred Balinese temples.”
- The petitioners are joining forces to prevent Bali from being “obliterated from the face of the earth before it is completely too late.”
- “The booming sound from open bars in both Batu Bolong and in Brawa, next to Balinese holy temples, is so loud that it makes the windows and doors vibrate. Worse than an earthquake. This noise disturbance lasts every night until 1 am, 2 am, 3 am, and some bars even until 4 am!
- Despite some enforcement efforts by local law officials, the noise levels in the area are now “worse than ever.” (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
∙ These continuing activities deny the basic human rights of restful nights and are causing “thousands” of people, including Balinese residents, expats, and foreign and domestic tourists, to abandon Canggu and Bali, vowing never to return. (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
∙ Bali is becoming “a place of insane noise pollution with the sound of loudspeakers blaring from bars till almost dawn, combining with the sound) of motorbikes and shouting drunken tourists.”
- ”Many of these clubs and bars are directly adjacent to temples, including “Pura Kahyangan Jagat’” which are among some of the most sacred in Bali. And next to these temples, indecent and disrespectful acts have been occurring, including drunkenness, sexual behaviors, urinating in the temple walls area, and the possible consumption of illegal substances.
∙ There are frequent fights and speeding drunk motorcyclists have ended in fatal accidents. Some bars built directly on the beach also cause environmental problems due to their proximity to the sea.” (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
∙ The petitioners are calling on the government to pass and enforce strict regulations that include severe sanctions. Satpol PP must diligently monitor these rules.
The Indonesian Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy announced he was imminently flying to Bali to personally survey the situation and to meet with officials and community members
Troubled Bridges Over Bali Waters
RadarBali.com reports that repairs on three major bridges on Jalan Gatot Subroto Timur, targeted for completion on 31 December 2022, may have suffered a major setback. The bridges span major river gorges on the road that connects Bali’s east and west coast across Denpasar north. (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
Repairs and upgrades on three bridges are budgeted to cost Rp. 109 billion.
Portions of the bridge construction over the Ayung River reported suffered a collapse on 23 September 2022.
Following the collapse, an observer on zoning and infrastructure who is also a senior professor in the Technical Faculty at Bali’s Udayana University, Dr. Ir. Putu Rumawan, has expressed his concerns, questioning the quality of the concrete being used on the bridge. (Main Article: Car Free Bali)
The partial collapse of the Ayung River Bridge occurred on Thursday, 22 September 2022, during a rain storm while a heavily loaded truck filled with sand was crossing the gorge. The contractor employed to repair the bridge recently complained of high fuel costs and the burden of constructing retaining foundations to protect local temples.
Professor Rumawan focused on the continuing passage of vehicles over the bridge still in the process of repairs and reconstruction. “It is difficult to undertake constructions on a bridge still open to traffic. I am worried that the concrete will crack, exposing the interior steel strengthening rods to corrosion, resulting in an overall weakening of the structure,” he said.
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