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  • Writer's pictureBandaSEA

2023 in Review

A lot has happened again in 2023. As the year draws to a close, we would like to give you an overview here.

Information and event day on Banda Naira

After 12 years of actively raising awareness on the Banda Islands about the impact of plastic waste on the environment, we decided to organize a larger event to reiterate the urgency of the issue and review what we have already achieved. On February 2nd and 3rd, this event took place at the 'Istana Mini' on Banda Naira. The first day was about bringing all decision-makers (mayors, village heads, representatives of the military, police, sea rescue, university and school authorities, etc.) into one room to remind them of their responsibility for environmental protection and to look for solutions together. On this occasion, we also provided information about our plastic bank (bank sampah) program to attract more participants. Anyone who participates can create a plastic account and then hand in sorted types of plastic, for which a corresponding IDR amount per kg is credited to the account.

The second day of the event was dedicated entirely to the children. All the plastic-free schools had spent weeks preparing and designing the program. Dances were performed and there were competitions in drawing, handicrafts and upcycling art. The works of art were then presented by the little ones in a fashion show. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us financially and actively over the past 12 years!

Support for Pulau Pisang

Pulau Pisang is a small island a few kilometers east of Banda Naira. A small village community lives here, which until now has mainly depended on fishing. As there was no school on the island until two years ago, Maga organized the construction of a small classroom bungalow and we finance the salary of the teacher who teaches there. Since last year, we have already included the inhabitants of Pulau Pisang in our plastic bench system. They have shown great commitment: some of the men regularly canoe along the coast of Banda Besar (20 km!!) to collect plastic from the beaches. This year, we were able to support the village community even further and erect a small building in which a plastic shredder is operated. The foundation stone for the building was laid in March and we were able to inaugurate the shredder together in November. This project was co-financed by the Indonesian foundation Econusa. From now on, the residents can shred the sorted plastic themselves and pack it into rice sacks. This makes transportation much easier.

Plastic-free schools and environmental education

Our plastic-free schools program continued this year. Fadli, Amad and Ajo have already taken over the joint lessons with our German volunteers very independently. Thank you, Ella, Ilaria, Lisa, Nina and Lena, for your help! Thanks to the Lighthouse Foundation and the German Stiftung Meeresschutz for their financial support!

In May, we also received educational support from a French family who were traveling around the world. On our ship Tirta Intan, they spent several days teaching first aid to school classes. Together with our team, they also experimented with different ways of fishing for garbage with nets directly from Tirta Intan and built an exemplary garbage collection net for water channels. A big thank you at this point to Bera and Vincent!

Student Training Program

As part of our training program for students from Banda, we were able to train 8 young people in diving. The original plan was to offer 4 scholarships, but as so many motivated students took part in the selection process, we decided to start with a diving course for 8 applicants. We then offered the opportunity to go diving with the Luminocean team once a week. The 4 most reliable and committed from this diving group will now start the Ecodiver course before the end of the year and will then have the opportunity to write their bachelor thesis under our supervision next year. Thank you to those of you who have made this program possible through your funding! Thanks also to Ade and Nyellow for teaching the courses!

Joint effort after the south-east monsoon

Some of the beaches in Banda Naira presented a sad picture after the south-east monsoon. All southeast-facing corners had become garbage dumps, as all the floating plastic waste was carried there by the wind. Our local foundation team and a group of students from the Ruhr-University Bochum and the University of Paris-Saclay did a fantastic job of clearing the beaches of garbage. Thank you!

Playing "plastic police" again at the Banda Festival

As every year, the Banda culture festival took place at the beginning of November. Like every year, we were responsible for preventing it from ending in plastic chaos. Maga, Ahmad, Fadli, Ajo and our German volunteers Nina, Lena, Ilaria and Lisa organized a small reward for children who helped to collect the plastic. This effort did not go unnoticed by many and we hope that the awareness of the problem of plastic waste will increase a little bit every year!

Coral restoration through larval propagation

The project sponsored by the German Marine Conservation Foundation (thank you!) to research the settlement of coral larvae as a gentle alternative to traditional reef restoration was a complete success this year. We now have a very good understanding of the times when many coral species spawn around the Banda Islands. This is the prerequisite for the method. Rifaldi (Universitas Banda Naira) and Joshua (Ruhr University Bochum) were both able to collect enough data for their bachelor theses and are now in the final stages of writing them. Farista and Fitra (University of Banda Naira) have now gained experience and will collect their final data next year.

This year we also managed to document the settlement very well (this was the most difficult point in previous years). We created 17 "stone circles" in a shallow reef that was destroyed a few years ago and released the larvae under silk fabric tents. The tents were removed after 7 days. In the meantime, 5 weeks after the larvae were released, Rifaldi was able to count up to 80 settled larvae on one stone. We will continue to document the development.

Information on reef restoration and the benefits of this method can be found in detail in this webinar.

National award for the best locally managed coastal conservation program

We are very proud and delighted to report that our Indonesian partner foundation Luminocean-Yayasasan Cahaya Samudera Indonesia has been recognized for our waste project. Maga was awarded the prize for the best locally managed coastal protection project by the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries on November 28, 2023 in Pontianak (Borneo) as part of the 11th National Congress on the Sea, Coasts and Small Islands. This shows that our concept of "consulting and supporting our own ideas" works very well and sustainably. It is also proof that we are now recognized in Indonesian government circles. This brings us one step closer to our goal: the complete financial independence of the waste project. The award will make it easier for Maga to receive funding from Indonesia. At the same time, it means that we can focus more and more of our resources on educational projects.

We've done it: the catamaran is under Indonesian flag now

It is now more than 4 years since we salvaged the catamaran 'Vitamin B' from the Banda Sea. It was 4 years ago that Tuta and Mareike tried to declare it at customs in Ambon. After a long search for ways to avoid having to pay more than 30,000 euros in import duties, we have now succeeded. The customs authorities in Ambon appreciate our social and environmental commitment and have donated the catamaran to us for the purpose of educating children, teenagers and young people from Banda and for fishing for garbage. We would like to emphasize that this was done without any payment. We greatly appreciate the professionalism of the customs office in Ambon and say a huge thank you!

The catamaran was officially handed over to us on 01.12.2023 as part of a small but fine ceremony at the Baba Lagoon Hotel. Now we can finally get the ship afloat and launch exciting educational projects.

We would like to thank all our loyal members, as well as for every single donation and active support we received in 2023! Together we have achieved a lot!

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