Waste from 13 Mouths of Jakarta Rivers Pollute the Rambut Island

By Nur laeliyatul Masruroh

A small boat carrying 60 of photogr aphy lovers landed on the Rambut Island, one of the conservation area in the Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu, Indonesia), in late May 2012. They were greeted by a jumble of plastic waste are not few in number. As a  conservation area, the vegetation and animal are protected, why there are mountains of garbage littering the beach? Apparently those junk are mailed from other places. According to the keepers of the island, there are 13 mouth of the rivers from Jakarta and Tangerang spew garbage material to the Rambut Island.

The littered trash are plastic wrappers, discarded tires, sandals, shoes, and a variety of materials that can not be unraveled in a matter of years. Giant waves crash on the shore of Rambut Island. Often when a high tide, the water enters the mangrove swamp area. The rubbish is carried by the waves moves to the mainland mangrove forests and of course pollute the soil.

Rambut Island is administratively included in Regency of Thousand Islands, province of Jakarta, with 45 hectares, and a Royal Bird. Thousands of birds with different types fly and settle down in the canopy of trees. We can do birdwaching in a Tower of View in the middle of the woods. The ecosystem is formed by mangrove forests and without people population. The island is not a common travel area. To enter these areas requires special permission from Natural Resources Conservation Center, Jakarta. On the edge of the beach, we can enjoy views of the surf while the body lay in the grass. Although the day was wrapped by the hot sun, we can comfortably take shelter under a leafy canopy of  Beach Casuarina. A flock of birds fly to and fro carrying a piece of plant litter to build a nest. They bring the leaves and twigs are pooled from the surface of the sea. The birds also occasionally swim on the ocean looking for fish feed. Unfortunately the beautiful moment was interrupted by the smell of rotting garbage here and there.

When we entered the mangrove forest of Rambut Island, found pieces of coral similar bones scattered among the breath roots of mangrove trees. Also, the door holes of house of big crabs. On the path to the swamp is found the tree endemic of Rambut Island, which the tree is one of the citrus family. Besides that, a variety of trees including Kepuh, Waru Coast, and Sand Teak dominated the vegetation there. Tubers and a number of typical liana grow in these ecosystems. Ecosystems such as these should be kept sustainable. Waste that already entered the mangrove forest can damage the soil and eventually damage the ecosystem.

The Photography Lovers are a group of alumni of Gadjah Mada University, came to the Rambut Island intend to take pictures and capture the moment. The natural beauty of Rambut Island deserves to be known and be a place of research. The existence of the pictures or videos can be made as a control for monitoring the wealth of natural resources and ecosystem changes all of time. They also plant mangrove seedlings are already available there. They collect the rubbish that can not be decomposed, into a large plastic and then are brought by the officer into landfills on the Untung Jawa Island. On the Rambut Island is not allowed to light a fire to burn trash or just light a campfire, probably because there are many dry twigs, it is feared could lead to forest fires.

“Beach Cleaning” like it seems as a little something to reduce waste. However, this has meant, at least they help to reduce and certainly not to increase. Although many plastic garbage strewn, but the sea is still clear and blue. Because the island is far enough away from population activity. From Tanjung Pasir located at the edge of the island of Java, to reach the Rambut Island of  takes less than 1 hour using a wooden boat.

Waste problem does not stop at the Rambut Island shoreline. When the ship returned to Tanjung Pasir, approached the shore, we struck by the water is very turbid. Not only the plastic waste that pollute, but also liquid wastes discolor seawater. If trash and pollutants are allowed to continue polluting rivers and seas, would upset the balance of the ecosystem as a whole in the earth.

 People in Jakarta and surrounding should shame when dispose trash in the river. This is a shared responsibility not to underestimate how to manage the litter. Maybe someone thought that a carelessly discarded plastic waste into the river will not affect life on earth. However, what happens if a thousand people think the same? One thousand plastic will clog the flow of the river and when it rains will contribute to make the flood. Indeed, it could start from ourselves to dispose of waste in place. Ensure that in our neighborhoods, especially in the city, there is a waste collecting for every house integrated on a regular basis. Make sure that our plastic wastes of today are disposed of to the right place.

The Author is Biologist and Journalist.

Depok-Indonesia, June 2, 2012


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Filed under Conservation, Environment

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