Reported by Serlinia Rambu Anawoli, alumna from Artha Wacana Christian University (Kupang)
On May 1st, 2019, RR VDMI Kupang carried out the activity of planting mangroves and cleaning plastic waste in the Oesapa Coast Coastal Area of Kupang. This activity is a series of Kartini day celebrations, Earth days and Labor days and to commemorate the togetherness of VDMI Family (alumni, grantees and PIC). The implementation of this activity was in collaboration with the Indonesian Forum for Environment (WALHI) in the NTT region, Sahabat Alam NTT (NTT’s Friends of Nature), Students Association for Environmental and Adventure Activity (MAPALA) from the University of Mohamadiyah Kupang. There are three agendas in this activity: (1) listening to material from the Director of WALHI NTT with the theme “Pentingnya Pelestarian Ekosistem Mangrove dan Mengurangi Sampah Plastik” (The importance of preserving mangrove ecosystems and reducing plastic waste), (2) ‘I bring my own tumbler’ Declaration by VDMI RR Kupang and, (3) mangrove planting and cleaning of plastic waste. Participants were 202 people. Umbu Wulang as the director of WALHI NTT was given the opportunity by Serlinia as the master of ceremony as well as the moderator which began with an initial introduction about VDMI, what the VDMI is, the RR VDMI Kupang and the activities that had been carried out.
Starting from the worries of unpredictable of climate change, environmental damage and ecosystem imbalance, then the material presented during this event is how the importance of preserving the mangrove ecosystem and reducing plastic waste. Umbu Wulang introduced himself, his colleagues and organizations as well as the advocacy work related to the environment in Indonesia and NTT in particular. He explained that what he wants to do now is to solve the problem downstream of this waste. However, the upstream problem of the companies that use plastic for their products is still have been no efforts to cope, which the plastic waste from the company is increasingly accumulating day by day and affecting the marine ecosystem and soil. He also said that preserving mangrove ecosystems and reducing waste is a very good action. After the explanation, then it was followed with question and answer session by participants and speaker.
After the session finished, the moderator was summarizing several important points including how VDMI Kupang took the position to start to commit in bringing their own drinking bottles and drinking water from home. By doing so, it would limit it to buy bottled drinks on campus or wherever they traveled. Everyone in the event was holding their drinking bottle in the air and took vow on their commitment, ‘VDMI RR kupang, mulai hari ini Beta bawa botol minum sendiri’. God and the universe are witnesses of the commitments that have been made together. After that, the session continued by mangrove planting and plastic waste cleaning along the coastal area. Each participant bought saplings of mangrove and plants them in a location determined by the local government.
After completing the cleaning and planting of mangroves, a brief evaluation was carried out at the seashore before closing all series of events. Several grantees expressed their opinion that they were very happy because they gained new knowledge and could contribute directly by planting mangroves and cleaning plastic waste. RR VDMI Kupang Coordinator, Serlinia thanked all participants who attended starting from WALHI NTT, Sahabat Alam, MAPALA, UNIKA PIC, STIKOM PIC, UKAW PIC, UNDANA PIC, Vice Rector in Students Affairs of UNIKA, grantees and alumni and the local government and community. She continued by giving a few simple tips for reducing plastic waste, namely carrying bottles and drinking water on their own if traveling, carrying plastic that had already been bought but it was better to bring a shopping basket if they wanted to go to markets and malls, start buying foods that are environmentally friendly and start say NO to PLASTIC. Mr. Servas who was Vice Rector in Students Affairs of UNIKA expressed his very good appreciation to RR VDMI who helped to initiate, organize this activity and advised all VDMI grantees to keep in mind their commitment to reduce plastic waste and YVDMI which has brought us all together as a family today. The session was closed with a joint prayer led by the UNIKA PIC and followed by snacks along with local food that did not use plastic. Let us join hands together to preserve our nature.