Youth and residents of Ranupani village, Lumajang subdistrict, East Java have work together to tackle waste issues following the increased interest in Hiking Mount Semeru. Local government is yet to weigh in on the problem.
By Titik Kartitiani
Lumajang, EAST JAVA. As interest to hike the highest peak of Java, Mount Semeru in East Java, increases, it also poses as an environment threat. Hikers have been known to dump their waste around the Ranupani village in Lumajang district, the last stop for the hike.
At least 600 hikers crowd Mount Semeru per day and leave behind two tons of plastic waste each month around the 500-hectares village.
This prompted local youths and villagers to act. But it wasn’t until early 2018 that an environmental activist from Malang of East Java, Andi Iskandar Zulkarnain, initiated an environmental group comprises of several local youth groups, — Taruna Wisata, Kelompok Belajar Lingkungan Rukun Mandiri and Ikatan Peduli Lingkungan –, which currently have 20-30 active members.
“The embryo [of the group] was established two years ago. Local community was moved as they were becoming more aware that they have not been managing their waste and there was no place to manage waste. The 500-hectare village is nested in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park and cannot be directly managed [by local people],” said Zulkarnain.
In June 2018, the group was loaned an-800-square meter land by the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park to be utilized as an integrated landfill. Having that much space that they didn’t before, the volunteers are now able to manage waste more effectively.
However, Pujiati, head of technical conservation at the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, said that waste management is not their main responsibility and the national park does not allocate a budget for waste management, but rely on cooperations with environmental organisations or volunteers.
The area being loaned to be used as integrated landfill, she explained, was not officially assigned to the organisation and it has minimum facility.
The zero waste policy, she said, is much more focused on reducing waste. EKUATORIAL.