Responsible Waste Management in Tourism Sites: EcoRanger in Pulau Merah, Banyuwangi

Tourism sites that suffer from overtourism, from mount Everest to Boracay beach in Philippines, as well as Venice the canal city, almost always experience a waste problem due to the high volume of tourists.

Waste has indeed became a typical problem that are often faced by popular tourist destinations. The problems range from irresponsible tourists who still littered the tourism sites, lack of infrastructure and facilities to manage the waste, and even the condition of the sites/landscapes that hinders the waste collection and transportation process.  

Even so, there are existing practices of sustainable tourism that have also implemented responsible waste management system, one of which is the EcoRanger project in Pulau Merah, Banyuwangi.

EcoRanger in Pulau Merah, Banyuwangi

This program is initiated by Greeneration Foundation and lasts for approximately a year, starting from October 2018 until October 2019 and involves Waste4Change as the field facilitator as well as Coca Cola Foundation Indonesia.

Learn more about the changes brought by the presence of EcoRanger towards the waste condition in Pulau Merah Banyuwangi as we dived into the details of the program below

First things First, What is EcoRanger?

EcoRanger is a team that consists of local people/communities who are passionate in implementing a responsible waste management. In the case of Banyuwangi, EcoRanger focuses on sustainable tourism, specifically in terms of its waste management.

The EcoRanger team in Banyuwangi

EcoRanger is formed with a vision to safeguard the tourism sites/destinations to prevent it from being ruined, and to ensure that those places are managed in ways that are responsible and sustainable so that the future generations can still enjoy it. 

The Reasons behind the Foundation of EcoRanger in Pulau Merah, Banyuwangi

Pulau Merah is the second biggest tourist destination in Banyuwangi, right after Kawah Ijen. Pulau Merah is a beach that is located in Dusun Pancer. The beach got its “red” name due to the existence of a small green hill with red-colored soil near its seashore.  

Pulau Merah’s seashore strecthes for 3 kilometres long, with waves that reach up to 3 to 5 meters high. This also makes Pulau Merah suitable for surfing

On weekdays, the number of visitors in Pulau Merah is around 300-500 people per day. As for weekends, the number of tourists can reach up to 2.000 people every day. One time, Pulau Merah was visited by as many as 12.000 within just a day. 

Banyuwangi itself has a lot of potentials in terms of the tourism sector, but waste problems are looming on these places, including Pulau Merah.

Flag-raising acticity done by the EcoRanger team. Source: Documentation from EcoRanger.

Even so, the government of Banyuwangi has already put some concerns towards such problems and consequently supports the EcoRanger program to be implemented in Pulau Merah.

The Existing Waste Problems in Pulau Merah, Banyuwangi 

Dusun Pancer in Banyuwangi regency has three tourist destinations, which are Pulau Merah, Wedi Ireng, as well as Mustika beach. As of 2017, the number of residences in Dusun Pancer was 4.888 people, which were divided into 1.648 households.

Based on a field study that was performed by both EcoRanger and Waste4Change from October until February 2019 in Dusun Pancer, Dusun Pancer generates is as many as 1,13 ton per day

The waste composition from Pulau Merah (left) and Dusun Pancer (right) The waste composition from Pulau Merah (left) and Dusun Pancer (right)

From the total amount of waste in Dusun Pancer, the waste composition is dominated by organic waste (food scraps) by 60,6%, followed by residual waste at 21,12%. The rest of the waste in Dusun Pancer were textile waste (3,84%), glassess (0.67%), plastic bottle (6,25%), duplex (3,63%), hazardous waste (0,78%), paper (0.66%), plastic cup (1,68%), and metal (1.83%). 

Moreover, 76% of those waste could still be managed (composted or recycled), but before the project took place the waste were either dumped or burned.  

The condition of the Pancer landfill in Banyuwangi. Source: Documentation from Ecoranger

At that time, Dusun Pancer does not yet have an initiative on good proper waste management system, so 97% of the waste are either disposed of ilegally or burned (open dumping), and only 3% is given to local recycling partner. 

With such conditions, it is very likely for the discarded waste to end up in the ocean. The EcoRanger team even found many waste that have accumulated in the seashore

An example of the open dumping in Dusun Pance. Source: Documentation from EcoRanger

The people who live in Dusun Pancer have actually displayed some concerns over the waste condition in their home, specifically in the tourism sites. However, there is not much that they can do due to the lack of proper waste management facilities.

The Efforts that Have Been Done to Safeguard Pulau Merah, Banyuwangi 

1. The formation of EcoRanger team whose Members consists of Local People

EcoRanger Banyuwangi is formed by Greeneration Foundation in cooperation with the local communities. The EcoRanger team consists of local people who wants to preserve the Pulau Merah and Dusun Pancer as a whole and ensure that those places will stay clean and be managed sustainably

Training sessions regarding responsible waste management. Source: Documentation from EcoRanger team

Greeneration Foundation also facilitates capacity building for the Rangers, namely by carrying out trainings and workshops that features trainers and speakers who are experts in their field. This training program aims to enable the EcoRanger team to be ale to develop their own waste management design planning as well as the education programs pertaining to waste issues. 

One of the capacity building programs for members of EcoRanger Banyuwangi. Source: Documentation from from EcoRanger team

Besides training programs, there are also SOPs and modules that are developed for the Rangers to be used as guidance in planning and executing the waste management and educational activities.

2. Building a Waste Recycling Center called Sentra Kelola Sampah (SEKOLA) and Collaborate with Other Waste Management Stakeholders  

Since March 2019, EcoRanger have started the construction of waste recycling facility called Sentra Kelola Sampah (SEKOLA), which was sponsored by Cola-Cola Foundation Indonesia

Waste recycling activity taking place in Sentra Kelola Sampah (SEKOLA) in Dusun Pancer. Source: Documentation from EcoRanger

The construction of SEKOLA has brought significant effects to the waste management aspect of Dusun Pancer, and as many as 9.063 kilograms of organic and inorganic waste have been managed every month.

The making of biopore holes as a mean to manage organic waste. Source: Documentation from EcoRanger

From June until November 2019, the total amount of waste that have been managed is around 54.379 kilograms or 60 tons. If we take into account the residual waste, then there’s 13.371 kilograms out of 33.960 kilograms of waste per month that have been managed. This means that within only 6 months, SEKOLA can already managed 40% of the total waste that are generated in Dusun Pancer every month. 

The waste-recycling activity taking place in SEKOLA. Source: Documentation from EcoRanger team

EcoRanger also cooperates with several waste management stakeholders, one of which is Bank Sampah (Waste Bank) Pegadaian in Sumberagung village. Later on the valuable waste that are collected in SEKOLA will be sold to the waste bank. 

Weighing the valuable waste at the Waste Bank Source: Documentation from EcoRanger

As for the residual waste, EcoRanger cooperates with the local Environmental Agency to transport the waste to the landfill in Banyuwangi. 

3. Provide Education and Socialization to Local People and Tourists 

In addition to building waste management facilities, EcoRanger also actively educates the local people and tourists alike to raise their awareness regarding responsible waste management 

EcoRanger’s participation in Gandrung Surft Competition di pulau Merah. Source: Documentation from EcoRanger

The education activities are conducted mainly through various events that feature many participants and are engaged with tourists (Gandrung Surft Competition, Petik Laut, etc), socialization in schools (EcoRanger goes to Campus), and through activities such as Plastic Fishing. There are a total 0f 7 education programs that have been conducted so far, and as many as 1.793 participants have joined. 

The Plastic Fishing activity in Pulau Merah Banyuwangi. Source: Documentation from EcoRanger

Socializations are also conducted door-to-door and towards bussiness actors and owners as part of the tourism industry. EcoRanger encourages them to join and participate in the recycling program initiatied by SEKOLA. By the end of 2019, around 50 vendors have received socializations regarding waste that is given by EcoRanger, and 189 households have participated in the SEKOLA program. 

Socialization given to the head of the neighborhood associations. Source: Documentation from EcoRanger

4.Installing Educational and Infomative Signage throughout the Area 

To complement the efforts in educating the tourists that visited the travel destinations located in Dusun Pancer, Banyuwangi, the EcoRanger team also installed several signage in several strategic places. A total of 6 signages are installed, 3 in Pulau Merah, 2 in Mustika beach, and 1 in Wedi Ireng.  

The process of installing educational signboards in the tourism sites that are located in Dusun Pancer. Source: Documentation from EcoRanger

The types of information that are displayed on the signboards are divided into three main topics: the first is regarding EcoRanger, the second is about the importance of sustainable waste management, and last but not least it regarding the reasons on why we should segregate our waste. =

Examples of signage that has been installed. Source: Documentation from EcoRanger

5. Weekly Beach Cleanup 

The last but not least, EcoRanger also initiates weekly beach cleanup in three tourism sites in Dusun Pancer (Pulau Merah, Wedi Ireng, Pantai Mustika).

The weekly beach cleanup by EcoRanger. Source: Documentation from EcoRanger

The beach cleanup is conducted every week and is a part of the efforts in educating the tourism sector on the matter of sustainable tourism as well as to inform the public about the recycling program done by EcoRanger. 

The weekly beach cleanup by EcoRanger. Source: Documentation from EcoRanger

Since July 2019, the beach cleanup activities has been conducted 30 times, and around 716 people dan 30 institutions have participated. 

The weekly beach cleanup by EcoRanger that also encourages local people and tourists to take part. Source: Documentation from EcoRanger

Responsible Waste Management for Sustainable Tourism Practices

Waste production in tourism sites becomes one of the indicators in measuring whether or not the existing tourism practices is already sustainable.

If a popular tourism site does not have a proper waste management facilities and infrastructure, then the consequences will be severe, be it for the environment and for local people alike. 

As a social enterprise in repsonsible waste management, Waste4Change supports sustainable tourism practices through its Community-Based Implementation (CBI) service like the one featured in the EcoRanger program held by Greeneration Foundation and Coca Cola Foundation Indonesia in Banyuwangi. 

Let’s start safeguarding our tourism sites to prevent it from experiencing overtourism, starting from empowering the local communities to actively participate in preserving and protecting their home. 

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