Anggertimur Lanang Tinarbuko
Rows of mangrove trees at Baros Beach continue to diminish. Only those that have been planted at least five years ago survive, thanks to their strong roots.
However plastic waste could often be found trapped between these roots.
"Everything we throw into the ocean will return to the land. That’s how nature works," said Antarmoro while observing the Baros mangrove area.
Between November and December 2017, Tropical Cyclone Cempaka hit parts of Java and Bali islands. The mangrove conservation area at Baros Beach was unable withstand the strong cyclone, which submerged much of the agricultural land in sea water, preventing harvest.
Mangrove planting in this area was begun in 2003 by Warsono, 71, to prevent erosion in the Baros Coast region and in the process he helped the surrounding community to open agricultural areas. The sea breezes that contain salt were reduced by the presence of mangroves, which made agriculture flourish.
Seventeen years later, this area has now become a habitat for various birds, lizards, crabs and other animals. According to 44-year-old Antarmoro, Warsono's son, only 5 hectares of land remains from the initial 15-ha area.
In addition to erosion, the mangrove area on Baros Beach has to face other challenges, such as sand mining in the Opak River, which shrank the land area even more, and domestic waste from rivers around Yogyakarta that empty into the sea.
This area is currently managed by the Baros Youth Community. Antarmoro serves as a mentor for the youth in his neighborhood to continue to look after the Baros mangrove area. The community raises funds through education ecotourism packages, as well as by planting mangrove seedlings. [kes]