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Involving the ASRI Foundation, TANAGUPA Center Promotes Community-Made Ecopolybags

The Gunung Palung National Park (TANAGUPA) Center in collaboration with the Alam Sehat Lestari Foundation (ASRI) continues to encourage community empowerment around the TANAGUPA area. This time the empowered community group is the Kayek Melayet Besame Group from Laman Satong Village, North Matan Hilir District, Ketapang Regency. The empowerment carried out is the purchase of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) crafts in the form of Ecopolybags as many as 15,000 units until the end of 2020.

Kayek Melayet Besame is a community group that has a license to utilize NTFPs in traditional zones through a Conservation Partnership. The group consists of 35 people, of which 25 members are women. Kayek Melayet Besame is a specialist group of bamboo, rattan and resam-based woven craftsmen whose NTFPs are collected from within the TANAGUPA Area. The ecopolybags made by this group are made from bamboo, which is safe and does not cause problems for the environment.

"This ecopolybag can be used as a substitute for plastic polybags that are generally used for nurseries. The use of plastic polybags is less environmentally friendly because it creates plastic waste. With this bamboo ecopolybag, in addition to improving the economy of community groups, it also reduces plastic waste," said Ranto Sihotang as a community facilitator in Laman Satong Village.

Head of SPTN Region I Sukadana, Bambang H. Trimarsito said that TANAGUPA Center always encourages community empowerment. "In order to empower the community, we always encourage the Kayek Melayet Besame group to develop handicraft products through TANAGUPA partners. The group's ability to fulfill the ASRI Foundation's request to make ecopolybags is one of the group's contributions to efforts to preserve the TANAGUPA area," said Bambang.

Nur Febriani, Executive Director of ASRI Foundation, said that ASRI Foundation is very happy with this collaboration. "We are very happy with this collaboration. ASRI and Gunung Palung National Park have been working together for a long time on the forest replanting program, and this time we are working together to improve the quality of our planting program. It started with ASRI's desire to find an alternative to polybags so as not to reforest the forest by leaving piles of plastic waste from polybags. ASRI contacted biodegradable polybag companies, but unfortunately their polybags did not last long. In less than three months, their polybags would decompose. Meanwhile, the tree seedlings that ASRI sows need polybags that can degrade much faster than plastic, but are durable enough until the tree seedlings are strong enough to be planted in the ground (around 6 months-2 years)".

"TANAGUPA Center provides an answer to this need. The group in Laman Satong was trained to make polybags from woven bamboo. So, if we usually sow seedlings in plastic polybags, this time we collaborate with the community, especially women, to produce environmentally friendly polybags. These polybags are made from bamboo, which is leftover material from women who make woven rice tampi. You can imagine, thousands of plastic polybags will be replaced with these woven bamboo polybags, which are not only environmentally friendly because they will decompose naturally, but also help the economy of people living around the forest," Nur Febriani added.

Ecopolybag dari rotan

"TANAGUPA Center provides an answer to this need. The group in Laman Satong was trained to make polybags from woven bamboo. So, if we usually sow seedlings in plastic polybags, this time we collaborate with the community, especially women, to produce environmentally friendly polybags. These polybags are made from bamboo, which is leftover material from women who make woven rice tampi. You can imagine, thousands of plastic polybags will be replaced with these woven bamboo polybags, which are not only environmentally friendly because they will decompose naturally, but also help the economy of people living around the forest," Nur Febriani added.