Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, is heavily industrialized, with manufacturing facilities and factories lining the banks of its main waterway, the 41-kilometer Surabaya River. Since the industrial development in 1980, industry has regularly released thousands of tons of toxic effluent into the river without strict enforcement of environmental laws. This has polluted the river severely, threatening the future of the river ecosystem and the availability of clean water.
Prigi Arisandi grew up near the Surabaya River, witnessing it degrade when factories began operating in the region. With a deep commitment to the communities living along the river, he founded Ecological Observation and Wetlands Conservation (ECOTON) to protect the water resources and wetlands ecosystems of Indonesia.
Gresik, East Java, Indonesia
What can we learn:
River observation and conservation
Speak up for environmental rights
Learn to Travel:
Read an overview of Prigi Arisandi, Ecoton, and Surabaya/Brantas River
Make a list of questions
Prepare more clothes as you might get wet
Bring insect repellent if necessary
Pak Prigi had 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 that bring children and local residents closer to the river’s rich biodiversity and devastating pollution. This “River Detective Program” teaches children how to monitor the river’s water quality and report their findings to the government and media, promoting a healthy environment campaign and instilling environmental concern on youth, the future generation. Because of his efforts on reducing industrial pollution of the Surabaya River and protecting the ecosystem, he was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2011.
Imagine if there are many people having environmental concern like Prigi Arisandi, for sure the environment in this world will be well preserved. The change should start from ourselves, and then spread through all layers in society. Will you be part of the movement?