April was the month of Earth Day.
Students from the Kapuas University in Sintang, together with staff from the Sintang Orangutan Center and the Masarang office in Sintang, had joined forces and organized a series of events for Earth Day in 2016, under the name ‘Komunitas Pencinta Lingkungan Sintang’ (the ‘Love Nature Community Sintang’) or ‘PELITA’.
For the opening activity, on April 9th, a group of 80 supporters gathered at the Kelam hill, the second largest rock in the world, to do a big ‘mountain cleanup’. Unfortunately a lot of waste can be found on the mountain, especailly alongside the path up the hill and at the various rest areas. The participants split up in groups to clean as much as possible of the track, almost all the way to the top. They also placed signs calling for people to throw their waste in the designated bins, or even better bring it down the hill. The group collected about 600 kgs of waste in just one day.
Pelita also organized a competition for the secondary schools. There were 4 categories in which students could join: making a trash bin, article writing, creating a poster, creating a ‘pin wall’. 12 schools joined in the competition. These schools were all invited to the campaign day on the 18th of April, where Pelita invited speakers from the local governmental waste management department, the local governmental conservation department, the Sintang Orangutan Center and the Masarang Foundation.
On the final day of activities around Earth Day, on the 24th of April, Pelita volunteers were handing out goody bags at the local fruit market early in the morning, aiming to reduce the use of plastic bags. In the evening, a large closing event was organized. During the event, the prizes for the various competitions were awarded and in between the award ceremonies there were dance performances, music performances and even stand up comedians.
Although Pelita is still a very young organization, we have the feeling a movement towards promoting a more sustainable way of living has started. We are proud to have been part of Pelita and we look forward to organizing more events in the near future.