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Sorong Waste Awareness, SED Alumni Action to Uphold Sorong City Ecology

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Sorong Peduli Sampah activities in cleaning waste around Sorong city. (Doc. Hilda Patihani K)

Greta Thunberg enthusiastically spoke in a world forum criticizing the climate change. What she addressed leads us to question on whether or not we only think of ourselves and are unaware of the current climate which is not in a good condition. Starting from that reflection, it comes up with an idea that protecting environment requires real action with direct impact at least to our neighboring environment. Such thought triggers some young people in Sorong as alumni of EcoNusa’s School of Eco Diplomacy to conduct an awareness action for environment in Sorong City.

As born and grown up in Sorong, young people here love all the beauty of Sorong which motivates them to have a hope of a green city free from waste. In the past years, environment nearby the dwellings or some spots in Sorong City was far from stockpiled trashes. There was no unclean sight of waste.

However, the recent condition of Sorong City is different. According to data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) as quoted by Detik.com, Sorong City is deemed one of the dirtiest city in Indonesia on medium category. Whereas Sorong is the front gate connecting many spots in West Papua. It includes some locations in Raja Ampat as the world tourism destination and also in Papua. In addition to Sorong, Waisai in Raja Ampat is also recorded as the dirtiest city with small category. 

The waste-polluted environment in Sorong City should have warned the local people to open their awareness and do something to make Sorong City clean and charming. It is not deniable that the local has habit of careless littering. They got less education on waste. This is one of the factors causing waste pollution in the city. Inspired by Greta, the alumni of SED initiated an action so-called Sorong Peduli Sampah (Sorong Waste Awareness).

Sorong Waste Awareness is a community action with Sorong youngsters from SED alumni and nature lovers. They held a virtual campaign on the importance of public awareness for not doing careless littering through social media with #genpedulisampah hashtag.

The initiative here also conducts photo and video competitions on the importance of cleanliness targeting young people. The creation of youngsters’ photos and videos is expectedly to call many more people, particularly youngsters in Sorong City, to involve in a real action to be more aware of environment of the city. The action targets some spots with trashes to collaboratively clean any waste through individual and group actions.

In addition to waste clean-up, the community of Sorong Waste Awareness also provides education on the importance of trash recycle as that of done by Waste Bank of Sorong Raya with the same join action. It aims to call more local people to be aware that Sorong city needs serious measure dealing with waste management. In this light, the community has major roles to make Sorong free from waste. 

“I believe that the God’s gift should be well preserved. Protecting earth from waste is like we keep our own house. Participating the competition makes us young people aware that our roles are very important to the surrounding. Young people like us are the middle group. We are the example to our younger generation and we are also the future who will carry on the ecological awareness as that of done by the past generations. So, let us together uphold the environment for a better life, particularly in Sorong,” said Sitna Devi, a participant of photo and video contests. Sitna believes that looking after environment is like taking care of our own dwelling.

Plastic waste dominates the waste collected from waste cleanup in Sorong. Many participants explore plastic waste as the theme of the contests. It is sad but plastic waste is the major threat not only Sorong City but also Indonesia. According to Euromonitor as quoted by Merdeka.com, Indonesia is one of the top five largest countries using single use plastics in the world. To raise awareness on plastic waste threat, Sorong Waste Awareness also campaign the use of tumbler instead of buying plastic bottled mineral water. Young people in this community hope that these campaigns will provide insights to other youngsters to be wiser in plastic use.

Young generation is obliged to safeguard the environment. Without youngsters contribution, waste problems will burden the next generation. Upholding the environment is collaborative tasks of both young and elder generation, community and government. It needs collaborations of all stakeholders to overcome waste problems, including that in Sorong City.

It is worthy to ponder Greta’s words, ”The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say- we will never forgive you”.

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Writer is Basic SED Sorong alumni who is doing her thesis for her study at a state university in Sorong. 

Editor: Leo Wahyudi & V. Arnila Wulandani

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