The beaches around the capital Jayapura and on the coast of Papua are often covered in plastic and other rubbish which has washed in from the sea, from the rivers, or left by visitors. Yohanna Barransano, environmental activist and Director of IWaTaLi Papua, started a campaign to increase awareness of the impact of plastic on the environment and the need to clean up the oceans.
Calling the campaign ‘Komunitas Sa Sayang Bumi’, which translates as ‘I care for the earth community’, Yohanna encourages local young people to collect rubbish on the beach, using social media to share progress. The campaign has grown and now has many groups doing regular beach clean ups, greatly reducing the rubbish on the beaches around Jayapura.
For 2022 the Community has a new vision. They plan to work with 5 primary schools for rubbish clean up and promotion of recycling throughout the city of Jayapura. They will work in partnership with IWaTaLi and Yum Yaf to provide training and support for women to make bags from recycled materials to help increase their income.
“We are still learning, but our dreams are big. Our work is maybe just a small drop in the ocean, but we’ll make sure that it is a sweet drop. We have taken on the challenge of Indigenous American Elders who believe that we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. This is why we are loving and caring for our earth so much!” —Yohanna Barransano