Well to say that “Clean Raja Ampat” was a success would be an understatement. We spent all day Thursday in meetings organizing the clean-up, 18 meetings to be exact. It was hard to get a good understanding of how receptive people were because the language spoken during all meetings was Indonesian. Then last night, we noticed a truck driving around the city announcing over a loudspeaker that all government buildings would be closed between 8 – 11 am Friday morning because of “Clean Raja Ampat”. This was the first time I realized the movement was getting traction. When Friday morning arrived, we had approximately 150 people come out to show their support or volunteer. An amazing turnout considering the event planning started less than a week ago.

A big THANK YOU to everyone involved! I was asked to do a speech after the clean-up… here it is:
“Salamat Pagi (Good Morning)…First and foremost I want to thank everyone for coming out today. It’s amazing what a community can accomplish when everyone comes together. Keeping the planet clean is our responsibility. Raja Ampat is one of most beautiful places in the world. We need to keep it this way for generations to follow. Our children deserve to grow up in a beautiful, clean environment just as we have.

Today’s movement “Clean Raja Ampat” needs the whole community to be involved. However, for this day to be meaningful, we must continue to have the same mindset going forward. If we can keep Waisai clean, this will set a great example for all villages in Raja Ampat.

We know that getting rid of all garbage in Raja Ampat is very hard, if not impossible, but it will only get harder the longer we wait. One step at a time can end with great success over the long term. We need to show everyone who visits this place that we do care. As a result, visitors will have more respect for our environment.

Today we are focusing on plastics. Plastics are the most harmful garbage we have. They are made only from chemicals, so they need to be disposed of or recycled with care. Unfortunately burning plastics is very harmful to people because it releases these chemicals into the air. Breathing in chemicals from plastics is known for causing types of cancer. We also can’t let plastic decompose. A study done by the United States National Park service showed it takes approximately 450 years for that plastic drink container to decompose. So every time you drop a plastic water bottle on the ground, if untouched it will stay there for 450 years. The best way to deal with plastics is to recycle them, that way they are reused again and again and no more chemicals are created.

Don’t forget to have fun! Let today be the first step in creating a cleaner environment for everyone. Terima Kasih – thank you. A special thanks goes out to the following: The Army, the Navy, TNZ (Conservation Department), the Fisheries Department, the Transportation Department, the Education Department as well as children from junior & high schools in Waisai, the district’s office, Lurah Sapordanco, the Tourism Department, Women Empowerment Bureau, BLUD Conservation, SMPN 14 Waisai (Students), Telkomsel (local cell phone company – sponsor), Raja Ampat Diving Club, Betew, Kafdarun Indigenous People Institute, Raja Ampat Movement, Garbage Corporation, Yuning (Artist), and Ina (Voice of Raja Ampat).

Subsequent original blog posts listed below:

Click to read – Farewell Raja Ampat

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