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CLIMBING RINJANI... New Waste Management Rules!
The 2016 trekking season started on 1 April and this month Dian Cahyadi, co-owner of The Lombok Guide, climbed Mt Rinjani for his annual clean-up of the volcano.
Dian and friends climb Rinjani every year at the beginning of the trekking season to check on conditions on the volcano and spend a week collecting rubbish on the trails and talking to trekkers about waste management… as well as enjoying their time on the volcano they love, of course!
Last year when they did their climb, they were very disappointed about the amount of rubbish on the trek. Even though the season had only started, already the trails and the camping area at the lake were covered in litter. If it is bad in April, it will be much worse in July and August – the high season – when hundreds of people make the trek every day.
Leaving the volcano, Dian was determined to “do something” about the rubbish on Rinjani. Over the following months he met with trek organizers, porters and guides, and community leaders in both Senaru and Sembalun (the main gateways for climbing Rinjani).
Everyone agreed – the rubbish situation was out of control and, with visitor numbers increasing rapidly every year – it was only going to get worse.
So began a series of meetings with delegates from these groups and the government authorities responsible for the volcano: the national park authority (BTNGR) and the provincial tourism department (Dinas Pariwisata).
The meetings were often heated – and one resulted in a threat to us – but all the people who live and work on the volcano would not back down.
When it became obvious that the authorities would not release enough funds to solve the problem, Dian drew up a proposal whereby the trekkers themselves would have to take responsibility for their own rubbish and the Rinjani National Park Authority would be responsible for implementing the rules and have the power to fine people who didn’t comply… a proposal that didn’t cost a lot of money and would, in fact, generate income through fines. That income could then be invested in clean-up programmes.
The proposal was adopted by the trekking stakeholders and the communities of Senaru and Sembalun and the groups then put pressure on the authorities to implement the plan. At one stage, angry community groups blocked the National Park offices in Sembalun.
Finally, almost a year later, we are elated that the National Park Authority and government have adopted almost all of the points of the proposal and, at the start of the trekking season on 1 April, the new rules for trekking came into effect.
Everyone climbing Rinjani must register at the National Park offices in either Senaru or Sembalun prior to starting their trek. There, trekkers pay the entry fee and fill out a form detailing the amount and type of non-organic waste they are carrying.
This includes plastic bottles, bags and other plastics, glass bottles, cans for gas, drinks, food, etc., and any other type of consumable. They are then given a numbered bag in which to place all these items as they are consumed and bring them back down the mountain after their trek.
At the end of the trek, climbers report to the National Park office and hand over their numbered bag of rubbish and this is checked against the items listed on the numbered form.
People failing to bring their rubbish down from the mountain will be fined Rp 250,000 or have their equipment confiscated for two weeks. The equipment will be returned on payment of the fine.
Although there is still some fine tuning to be done on the new regulations, it is a step in the right direction and the positive impact is obvious this year compared to previous years. The trails are much cleaner and guides, porters and trekkers are much more aware of their responsibility for waste management.
The situation has also been helped by the many groups and schools who have participated in independent clean-up programmes on the volcano in the past year.
Palasma – a local nature lovers group – along with other concerned groups did a massive cleanup operation organised by Sobah Mahdi on the mountain from 1 - 6 April. The event “Rinjani Clean Up 2016” involved around 250 trekkers who collected and carried rubbish down from the mountain over 6 days.
In other positive news, the National Park Authority has used the months between January and April (when the volcano is closed to trekking) to build new shelters at some pos (rest stops) on the routes from Senaru and Sembalun.
They have also erected signs along the trail encouraging people to carry down their rubbish, to avoid littering, to not damage trees or deface rocks on the mountain, and to refrain from activities that are a fire hazard.
There is still much work to be done to really conserve Rinjani and to prepare for the growing numbers of trekkers every year, as more people hear of the beauty and challenge of Lombok’s unique volcano.
Fortunately, trekking stakeholders are no longer afraid to voice their opinions and to challenge the authorities.
Many are now demanding transparency from BTNGR about the annual income collected from trekkers and accountability for how those funds are spent.
The BTNGR collects billions of rupiah in National Park entry and trekking fees every year. In 2013, around 24,000 people climbed Rinjani with an estimated gross income of Rp 2,123,475,000 from trekking fees.
In 2014, that figure almost doubled to 44,000 climbers and an estimated income of Rp 2,907,875,000 (approx US $225,000).
With an estimated 60,000 people climbing the mountain in 2015 the income generated by national park entry fees is more than enough to build environmentally-friendly toilets and facilities, and to employ people to carry out daily rubbish collection and waste management on the volcano.
In the meantime, we cannot afford to waste time waiting for the authorities to take responsibility.
For now, protecting Rinjani must be the duty of every person, local or tourist, who climbs the mountain. If you love this natural wonder, the solution is in your hands – if you trek it up there, please do the right thing and trek it down again.”
“Trek it in, trek it out”
- Use the rubbish bag and collect all your rubbish. If you can carry full bags up, you can carry empty bags down. Be part of the solution…
- Watch your guides and porters and remind them to collect their rubbish to take back down with you (especially when opening packets and preparing meals)
- Don’t be afraid to speak up and politely remind other less responsible trekkers when you see them littering
- Organic waste can be collected and buried
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25 BUSES SITTING IN A WAREHOUSE
An article in the local media caught our eye recently. It seems that Lombok is the proud owner of 25 large buses but doesn’t know what to do with them!
According to the report, Lombok government took delivery of 25 ‘Metro Trans’ buses from the Indonesian Ministry of Transport in February 2016.
The buses are now sitting in a warehouse in Sweta owned by DAMRI – the state-owned transport company who operate the airport buses in Lombok.
The large air conditioned buses are the type operated by TransJakarta in Jakarta for the public transport system (Metropolitan Transit or Metro Trans).
“What a pity that the buses [purchased] with a big budget cannot be utilised until now,” Deputy Mayor of Mataram, Mohan Roliskana H, told reporters.
Mohan said that he was worried if the 25 buses will be ‘allowed to just sit and rust in a warehouse’ while waiting for the local government to pass regulations for public bus operations in the region.
In August last year, the NTB (Lombok and Sumbawa) branch of the Ministry of Transport proposed creating a public transport system in Lombok under the banner of “Metro Trans Mataram”.
The proposal called for a public bus transport system to operate routes between Senggigi, Mataram and Narmada. The service will be operated by the state-owned transport company, Damri.
Under the proposal, Lombok would receive a total of 60 buses by 2018 (being allocated 20 buses per year).
Since then, there seems to have been no communication from the Ministry… and 25 buses just arrived in Lombok with little fanfare and even less preparation!
The House of Representatives in Mataram (Commission III of the DPRD Mataram) is also demanding an explanation.
Ali Aswandi, member of Commission III of the DPRD, said there had been no clarity from the Ministry of Transport related to the arrival of the buses.
The DPRD is now demanding a breakdown on how the operation of the transport system would be regulated and implemented.
This arrival of the buses seems to imply that Mataram will soon introduce a public bus system, which may be why some mysterious bus stops were built on the side of main roads in Ampenan, Mataram and Senggigi last year.
If this is the case, it seems the Ministry of Transport isn’t letting the city government in on the secret.
In the meantime, let’s hope someone is starting the engines on those 25 buses on a regular basis!
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HOW ‘VISA FREE’ WORKS IN LOMBOK
As we reported in issue 216 (published 4 April 2016), Indonesia now offers “Visa Free” status to citizens from 169 countries, including Australia.
A visa is still needed to enter Indonesia but, rather than having pay $35 for the visa, tourists from these countries now receive a visa automatically on entry, free of charge. The free visa is valid for 30 days only, with no extensions.
However, this new regulation is confusing as the ‘Visa Free’ facility is only available if you are entering through certain airports and ports in Indonesia, namely:
Airports: 1. Soekarno Hatta, Jakarta; 2. Ngurah Rai, Bali; 3. Kualanamu, Medan; 4. Juanda, Surabaya; 5. Hang Nadim, Batam
Seaports: 1. Sri Bintan, Bintan; 2. Tanjung Uban, Bintan; 3. Sekupang, Batam; 4. Batam Centre, Batam.
Lombok International Airport is not on the list of airports with visa free facilities and, in the past, this has created some problems for travellers.
For example, visitors who arrived in Bali (which is the most common point of entry for tourists to Lombok) and received a free visa, and then travelled to Lombok could not depart from Lombok because they did not have the correct ‘paid visa’
It was a ridiculous and confusing situation, with some travellers having to cancel flights out of Lombok and return to Bali to leave the country.
With only five airports eligible for free visa-on-arrival, immigration was interpreting the rules as follows:
Those who arrive in Jakarta and depart from Bali would not have a problem because both airports are listed as authorised points of entry/exit for free visas.
However, those who enter through Bali or Jakarta but leave from another international airport not on the list (such as Lombok, Jogjakarta, Makassar, etc.,) are not allowed to leave even though they have entered the country legally, as they did not pay for the visa-on-arrival.
While Lombok still does not have visa free facilities, immigration in Lombok have realised the stupidity of the situation and are now allowing people to leave from Lombok Airport on international flights without any penalty.
This means that travellers arriving through, for example, Bali or Jakarta airports can now travel freely to Lombok and leave via Lombok Airport on flights to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore without immigration problems.
While this isn’t an ideal situation for developing tourism in Lombok, at least it isn’t as bad as the confusion introduced last year.
International travellers arriving into Lombok still need to purchase a visa-on-arrival (VOA) at US $35 for a 30-day stay, single entry. This visa allows people to leave from any port in Indonesia and can be extended for longer stays.
The Indonesian government has repeatedly said that it is keen to develop tourism on Lombok and will support the island’s development.
Let’s hope that Visa Free facilities are introduced at Lombok International Airport soon!
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WE WANT YOUR BLOOD!
Donate blood and find out your blood type at Puri Mas Blood Donor Day!
Every six months for the past few years, management and staff at Puri Mas Boutique Resort in Mangsit have been holding ‘Blood Donor Days’ to donate blood to the Red Cross in Lombok.
This month they are inviting you to come along on Tuesday, 10 May and help build the blood stocks in Lombok!
Even if you are ineligible to donate blood, or don’t want to, you can use this opportunity to find out your blood type.
The Indonesian Red Cross (Palang Merah Indonesia or PMI) Lombok branch does a mighty job of managing blood stocks and providing vital support for people who are in crisis.
But blood can only be stored for a limited time and PMI always need new fresh stocks, especially of blood types that are relatively rare in Indonesia.
Blood donations can be used for 22 different medical treatments including for cancer treatment and blood disorders, anemia, surgery and burns, trauma such as road accidents, diseases and medical problems affecting the blood, and more.
The most common blood type in Indonesia is O, followed by A and B, while only around 8% of the population have AB blood type. Rhesus negative blood is very rare, only found in around 1% of the population.
This is why it is very important to have stocks of all these blood types available in an emergency… and vitally important that you know your own and your children’s blood type. Don’t assume that blood will be available when you need it.
Anyone can donate blood if you are fit and healthy, between the ages of 17 - 60 and weight more than 45kg.
Donating blood is a simple and very safe process. Each donor’s blood is collected through a new, sterile needle that is used once and then discarded.
Most people have between 4.5 and 5L of blood in their body, so a whole blood donation is usually less than just 10 per cent of that. Your body restores the lost blood volume quickly because, whether you give blood or not, your body constantly makes new blood to replace the old.
Make sure you look after your health on the day of your donation; drink lots of water and have something to eat. Sit back and relax while you donate. Most people feel absolutely fine after donating blood. In fact, you’re likely to feel pretty good about yourself… knowing that you are saving lives!
After your donation is finished, rest for about 10 minutes. Puri Mas is offering a special deal with tea or coffee and freshly-baked cake from their talented bakers for just Rp 50,000. Relax and recharge after giving blood and enjoy the beautiful view of the ocean from the Ballroom Restaurant on the beachfront.
Donated blood is screened to prevent the spread of diseases. You can’t donate blood if you have a disease such as hepatitis or diabetes, a cold or flu, have had an upset stomach in the past week or have been to the dentist recently.
If you do not wish to donate blood, PMI will also carry out blood typing on the day for a small donation of Rp 10,000 per person.
Blood typing is a method to tell what specific type of blood you have. A blood sample is needed and will be drawn from a vein.
What type you have depends on whether or not there are certain proteins, called antigens, on your red blood cells. Your blood type (or blood group) depends on the types that are been passed down to you from your parents.
The test is called ABO typing. This method breaks blood types down into four types: Type A , Type B, Type AB and Type O.
Blood typing is also done to tell whether or not you have a substance called Rh factor on the surface of your red blood cells. If you have this substance, you are considered Rh+ (positive). Those without it are considered Rh- (negative).
Health care providers need to know your blood type when you get a blood transfusion or transplant, because not all blood types are compatible with each other.
If you have a blood transfusion, it is vital that the blood you receive is well matched (compatible) with your own. For example, if you receive blood from a person who is A+ and you are B+, then the anti-A antibodies in your plasma will attack the red blood cells of the donated blood. This causes the red cells of the donated blood to clump together and can cause a serious or even fatal reaction in your body.
In addition, if you are Rh positive, you can receive Rh+ or Rh- blood. If you are Rh negative you can only receive Rh- blood.
A blood test is always done on pregnant women. If the mother is rhesus negative and the unborn baby is rhesus positive (inherited from a rhesus positive father) then the mother’s immune system may produce anti-rhesus antibodies.
These may attack and destroy the baby’s blood cells. This is rarely a problem in a first pregnancy. However, without treatment, this can become a serious problem in subsequent pregnancies, as the mother’s immune system will be ‘sensitised’ after the first pregnancy.
PURI MAS BLOOD DONOR DAY
Where: Meet at reception at Puri Mas in Mangsit
Tea, Coffee and Cake at the Ballroom Restaurant for just Rp 50,000
Date: Tuesday, 10 May
Time: 9am – 12 noon
Blood Donation: free
Blood Typing: Rp 10,000
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ACE BLOOD DONOR DAY @ EPICENTRUM MALL
To celebrate their 20th Anniversary, ACE Hardware stores across Indonesia will hold two blood donor drives (in April and September 2016) with the aim of collecting 20,000 bags of blood for the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI).
ACE Hardware at the Epicentrum Mall held their first National Blood Donor Day on Sunday, 24 April with hundreds of people participating. ACE provided facilities for PMI staff, as well as snacks and souvenirs for donors.
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ko - ko - mo Resort… Stylish Stays on Gili Gede
It’s now 3 months since ko - ko - mo Resort opened its doors on Gili Gede in Southwest Lombok and the stylish new resort is looking fabulous!
Boasting a tennis court, a putting green, a small gym and a long private jetty out into the sea, the resort provides plenty of opportunities for water sports and activities.
For more laid back stays, ko - ko - mo brings a new level of sophistication to the Southwest Gilis with luxurious one- and two- bedroom air conditioned villas with private pools and a host of modern comforts.
Other resort facilities include a beachfront restaurant, a spa and resort swimming pool, plus easy speed boat transfers from Bali, Gili Trawangan and Senggigi on board Gili Getaway Fast Boat.
For true ‘tropical getaways’ stay in one of the lovely ‘Villa Kecil’ bungalows right on the beachfront and enjoy the sublime ocean views with the laid back ambience of Gili Gede right on your doorstep.
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NOVOTEL LOMBOK CARES FOR COMMUNITY
The Novotel Lombok made a big contribution to the health of their local community on 20 April 2016, as part of the resort’s PLANET 21 Corporate Social Responsibility programme of events.
PLANET 21 is a sustainable development programme conducted simultaneously every year throughout the Accor Hotel network world-wide, of which Novotel Lombok is a part.
Each year has a different focus and this year’s theme was “My Positive Local Impact”.
After discussions on the theme, the Novotel Lombok team and management decided the best way to make a positive local impact was to do something to benefit the health of their south coast community.
“Many people still lack awareness of health issues and access to health care,” said Charles Choi, General Manager of the Novotel Lombok. “We decided that we could make a “positive local impact” by implementing health care projects that could be felt directly by the people and benefit the community in the Kuta area.”
Working together with the Central Lombok government and Gugah Nurani Indonesia (GNI) – a non-government organisation affiliated with Good Neighbors International, working on humanitarian and community aid projects in Indonesia – the Novotel agreed to carry out repairs and renovations to the Community Health Centre (Puskesmas) in Kuta.
The Health Centre is the main public medical facility in Kuta and handles around 50 - 60 patients daily but is under-funded and in poor condition. In particular, the roof leaks and rain floods the emergency room in wet season and toilet facilities at the centre are very bad and unhygienic.
Maintenance on the Centre will include renovating the emergency room and the construction of three new toilets – two outside and one in the emergency room.
The project was officially launched at the Health Centre in Kuta on Wednesday, 20 April at the PLANET 21 event attended by Novotel management and staff, together with representatives from GNI and Central Lombok government.
The project was inaugurated by H Mohammad Suhaili, the Central Lombok Regent (Bupati), who expressed his gratitude for the much-needed renovation of the public Health Centre.
On the same day, working with local health authorities, the Novotel also provided a free medical check-up at the Health Centre, with 7 pediatricians (child specialist doctors) working to improve the health of 210 local children from Kuta and surrounds.
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