FIGHTING FOR ECOLOGICAL JUSTICE
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Having ten years of experience as an environmental activist, Hariyono or Ejhon, a member of Kaoem Telapak, began to maintain his land in Ujung Sapar as an ecotourism destination. “Ujung Sapar is unique. It is on a peninsula. If the tide is high, the land will form an island. On the tip of the land, a white sandy beach formed,” said Ejhon. Ujung Sapar located in Telaga Pulang Village, Seruyan Regency, Central Kalimantan Province. The location is close to the largest lake in the province, Lake Sembuluh. On the mainland of Ujung Sapar, many large trees are growing. Pasak Bumi trees and Bajakah roots, famous medicinal ingredients in Kalimantan, grow there. Blangiran trees also live on the land, which according to Ejhon, has strength similar to the ulin tree, “Now, a forest zone for the Blangiran tree still exists,” said Ejhon. In certain seasons, residents usually come to Ujung Sapar to camp or fish, “If the water recedes, along the coast, we will find kijing (freshwater clams – ed), which is a culinary delight for visitors,” said Ejhon. According to The Ecotourism Society, Ecotourism is a form of travel to unspoiled areas based on environmental conservation, preserving life, and the welfare of the local community.
Ejhon admitted that he needed to clear his land for six months. As a result, five of the seven coastal spots in Ujung Sapar have opened. In the two remaining beach points, Ejhon will make a home cabin. After that, he plans to build a trekking path and gazebos made from fallen tree wood. While cleaning the island, Ejhon coordinated with village officials. He rolled out the idea of building an ecotourism destination. Although Ejhon assessed that the Village Head had not taken the idea seriously, “Could be Ejhon just doing a coffee shop,” he said. However, Ejhon was not discouraged. He kept cleaning the beaches and promoting his ecotourism destinations through Facebook. “Alhamdulillah, there are some interesting responses,” said Ejhon. After eight months of opening Ujung Sapar Ecotourism, Ejhon admitted that about 200 to 500 visitors come to this destination weekly. The Visitors came from residents, company workers around the site, and people from other places. “Usually, the groups from the district knew us from Facebook or Instagram,” said Ejhon. Ejhon hopes that Ujung Sapar Ecotourism can become an important tourist destination in Central Kalimantan, help the economy of residents, and become a model for other villages to develop economic activities in the town.
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