Twenty students from an international school took part in an effort to clean up several beaches in West Lombok recently, under the guidance of a local expert on sanitation. The Clean and Green Indonesia program, initiated by Husin Abdullah, an Australian who has been residing in Lombok for the past two decades, attracted a host of volunteers, including 20 students from the Buin Batu international school in West Sumbawa.
The students, whose school is in Batu Hijau town, part of a mining concession managed by PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara, helped clean up Melase Beach in Batulayar district, West Lombok. “We read Pak Husin’s profile… The students expressed their interest to be involved in the program, so we came here,” said a teacher accompanying the students, Budi Pranoto.
Budi said that before the school term had ended, junior high students usually took part in environmental programs in the region. “This time we planned to learn about cleanliness from Pak Husin. The students can learn about how to manage waste here through this hygiene awareness program,” he said. At Husin’s modest Pondok Siti Hawa homestay in Batulayar, the students were provided with equipment with which to undertake their task. There, Husin told the students about his Clean and Green Indonesia program and his experiences implementing it.
Over the past two decades, Husin, who was born as Gavin Birch, has been waging a war against waste mismanagement in Lombok. Although not all of his efforts have succeeded, he has remained determined. Husin is well known in West Lombok, especially in the Senggigi resort area, as a man of action, not just words. For years he has been picking up litter on beaches, providing garbage bins and advocating communal cleanliness in a number of villages in West Lombok.
After lunch, Husin invited the students to clean up the beach at Melase, a fishing village in Batulayar district, some 1.5 kilometers south of his inn. Every student carried an empty canvas bag in which to put litter from the beach. They picked up large quantities of garbage strewn across the beach, but left the leaves and twigs. They only picked up inorganic waste, such as plastic. Covering a significant distance, Husin and the students were able to collect 25 bags of garbage. A student, Albert, told The Jakarta Post that he and his friends had been happy to participate in the effort with Husin. “Pak Husin’s spirit is extraordinary. He is very aware of cleanliness even though he is not getting paid.
Furthermore, he is not a native here, but cares about the issue more than the locals,” Albert said. Husin has been involved in cleaning up Lombok since he moved there in 1984. “It is impossible for the government to manage waste and maintain cleanliness by itself.” Besides giving advise on the importance of cleanliness, Husin is currently familiarizing the public with sorting organic and inorganic waste at home. The students also had the opportunity to learn to process organic waste into compost at Husin’s inn. “I hope more students will learn to care and be eager to be involved in environmental cleanliness programs,” Husin said.
Source: The Jakarta Post – July 2, 2010
By Panca Nugraha