Lani – Kona, Hawaii
Kata pengantar: Kunjunganku ke kota SAN FRANCISCO kali ini sangat beruntung karena sempat mengetahui adanya acara pemilihan pahlawan lingkungan salah satu pemenangnya dari SURABAYA, INDONESIA.
Hal ini sangat membanggakan karena salah satu anak bangsa yang diakui oleh lembaga internasional.
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Inilah kutipan artikelnya.
Prigi Arisandi initiated a local movement to stop industrial pollution from flowing into a river that provides drinking water for three million people.
Surabaya’s Industrial Pollution
In Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, factories and other industrial facilities line the banks of the Surabaya River. Since 1980, industry has regularly released thousands of tons of toxic effluent into the river. Nearly 96 percent of the city’s drinking water comes from the Surabaya yet recent studies reveal that the concentration of mercury in it is 100 times the tolerate limit established by the World Health Organization. Childhood cancer rates are highest among children living along the river, where untreated water is often used for washing and bathing.
Prigi Arisandi grew up near the Surabaya River and remember seeing it degrade as industry moved in. he spent much of his childhood exploring the river and went on to study biology and conservation. He founded Conservation (Ecoton)while still attending university and set out to protect the water resources and wetlands ecosystem of Indonesia.
Since 2000, Arisandi has inspired thousands of people to become Surabaya’s advocates for river protection. He created the first experiential environmental education program in the region, educating the public through river tours. Arisandi’s River Detection Program, now in more than 50 schools, teaches children how to monitor the river’s water quality and report their findings to the government. Ecoton has since developed a national school network for river protection and is partnering with the East Java Provincial Education Agency to introduce environmental curricula in schools across the province.
In addition, Arisandi has personally conducted regular investigation of waste dumping by industry operating on the river. Sharing his findings with environmental regulators and the media, he has helped bring about unprecedented public reporting of the pollution activities and their impact on the health of the Surabaya river.
While environmental laws exist in Indonesia, the East Java provincial government’s standard practice has been non-enforcement. In 2007, Arisandi and Ecoton sued East Java’s governor and the province’s environmental management agency for failing to control water pollution on the Surabaya river. In April 2008, the provincial court issued a precedent-setting environmental decision, ordering the governor to implement regulations that established a maximum daily limit for toxic releases into the river and a monitoring system to ensure compliance.
As regional press coverage of the Surabaya River’s industrial pollution has increased, Arisandi has entered into talks with several industrial facilities operating on the river. In turn, a Surabaya sugar factory recently invested US 220,000 in a wastewater treatment plant. The facility is now one the most environmentally responsible factories operating on the Surabaya. Several industrial facilities have followed suit, installing pollution controls of their own.