Gili Gede Waste Management Project
Beginning of 2020, we supported the start of the Gili Gede Restoration Program. Almost 1 year down the line, we wanted to hear from Jantine, the project coordinator in Gili Gede. Together with the head of the village, the garbage collector Bapak Saip, and the rest of the community, she has been incredibly busy to keep this project succeeding, despite the difficult current situation.
Khiri Reach: The Gili Gede Restoration Project started in January 2020, what has happened since then?
Jantine: When we started the project in January 2020 the waste was still spread around everywhere. Goats and chickens started to spread it even more! No places to put the garbage into. Some women swept it all on a pile and then left it. So the wind blew it away again or the animals moved it. Or they burned it, what caused a lot of smoke... We started making garbage bins from ecobricks for one village and a big one to put in front of the school. We had a talk with the head of the island and he wanted to work together. We decided to put secondhand rice bags on a tree, one for 2 households. Then we also found a local man, Pak Saip who wanted to collect the waste daily for a salary. He also got a big cart to bring with him and make his job easier. The head of the island decided he could pay a salary for a second man to collect the garbage. We made signs asking people to collect the waste instead of throwing it in nature. We found a boatsman who we pay to bring the garbage once or twice a month to the mainland. He coordinates with the local waste facility on the mainland: once the boat arrives, the truck comes to pick up the waste. Some ladies on the island still make purses and bags out of the little plastic bags from coffee and juice etc and sell these.
Khiri Reach: Tell us about your success! Can you see any changes on the island already?
Jantine: It really works out well. We have now 2 collection points on Gili Gede where the full bags are brought to. No goats or chickens can move something. The bags are high up so also safe. It is clear that there is far less waste around!! People have a bag nearby and get used to collecting their waste now. Only the beach is still a problem, as we do get a lot of waste from the mainland especially during the rainy season. So we have to ask local people to clean the beach. Sometimes they come with a group but not on a regular basis. But there is a lot more awareness and understanding!
Khiri Reach: Great to hear about increased awareness and understanding! How does the project affect the people on the island?
Jantine: The people are happy and now used to it. The most difficult is still the surroundings of the school, the children still have to learn a lot! We talk a lot with them and also ask the teachers to talk about waste and its effects but it goes slowly. BUT I must admit that it is far better than it has been. The ladies of the small kiosks who sell food and drinks near the school keep their place clean now, and tell the children to put the waste in the bag, too!! I keep on telling them how great they are doing and what a big help they are and that helps a lot ha aha! They also understand now the importance for tourism and what it means: they can earn more money if it is clean on the island. They also understand the factor of health better now.
Khiri Reach: What are your hopes for the future?
Jantine: So far, we’ve set up this program only in one village as a pilot project and we hope we can involve the other 4 villages as well in the future. But, since Corona, a lot has changed… The head of the village cannot pay the garbageman anymore so we have only one at the moment. But we can manage with 1 garbage man. He is very enthusiastic and does not care about doing the job by himself, he says he can do it, and I see he can indeed! We also continue paying the boatman. The waste is less now since there are no guests on the island, so usually it’s enough to take the waste by boat to the mainland once a month. And we need less rice bags, so we can save costs and continue to run the project. Let’s hear from the local community! What do they think about the waste program and how has it changed the island life?
Hurniati, Bu Saera and Bu Rumina: A lot of changes and it is much more clean! The people have more understanding and now want to help to keep the place clean. Maybe it would be nice if we get more garbage bins.
Bapak Anwir, a fisherman: Far less waste since we have the rice bags, there is a lot of change. The inhabitants of the village are happy. They see that the tourists also are happy and that they can earn more money. I hope that the people are going to work together more so we do it together! The children do understand more now as well.
Bapak Saip, the garbageman: There is a big difference. The first months I had to pick up a lot from the path still but now it is most in the bags. People do understand more now and they see the difference. Also for tourism is this very good!
Bu Siti and Bapak Haeril, shop owners: It is so much cleaner now! Bapak Saip comes to pick the waste from the bag and we get a new one if needed. The people have to help and work together! Now they all do understand much more also the children must help and understand and it is getting better all the time. We are very happy thank you very much to the sponsor and everybody who is helping us, we are very happy!!