Ecotourism Village : Sukunan


“It all begins here,” said Endah, pointing her chest.


It was the end of 2002. Endah Suwarni Setyowati (46) and her husband, took a new step which changed their life. A small step which is patiently done, has now been fruitful.

Endah is a housewife  who ever decided to quit from her job, and Iswanto, her husband, is a lecturer who has environmental concern. They are not native inhabitants in Sukunan, a village they lived with their two children now. Sukunan is cool and peaceful. There is still some big trees, and the road is not so wide. It’s located in the eastern part inside Yogyakarta’s ring road, but a part of Sleman District.

At the begining, Endah and family tried to adapt to their environment. But there was a thing they couldn’t find, a wheelie bin service. Then she brought her household waste to her office to be discarded, or sometimes she brought to the dumpster.

“Why do it become difficult then?” thought Endah.

There were also several complaints from farmers about the waste which entering  the irrigation channel. It caused them need more time because of cleaning the area before planting. And it became worse when it rains, the waste fulfill the land.

Coupled by waste mishandling, which is buried or burnt, Endah and Iswanto decided to find out how to process the waste properly. “The continuous mishandling will lead to long-term pollution because the waste today are different from some years ago which were dominated by the organic one,” Endah said.

Endah started it by seeking the information from the scavengers, then to the polling stations and landfill.

“We looked for the information everywhere.”

Endah and Iswanto found that there are two kind of waste. The recycle and salable ones and some other are unsalable. They then concluded that the keyword for waste management are 'sorting'.

Then endah made some experiment in her own house, sorting out their waste.

And like every other options, there is a risk behind the decision to sort the waste. To process.

It’s easy to process the salable waste. After collection, the waste will be taken over by scavengers or collectors. Done. But it’s different from the unsalable waste. No one want to accept them without being processed first. And throwing away without processing is equal to do nothing. It solves nothing because they will still be a pile of waste.

Endah decided to manage the unsalable waste but recyclable to be handicrafts. While Iswanto handled the organic waste processing.

“There are variety of ways (to process the organic waste to be compos), so it can be adapted to the land’s condition or the ability of the person,” Endah added.

Four months they tried. At the early 2003 Iswanto persuaded the men in his ronda group to follow him. 4 out of 24 people are interested and one of them is the village chairman.

Successfully tried, Iswanto then proposed to the chairman to make this event as a village program and approved. Then they made an organisation under the village stewardship. They consist of a chairman, vice chairman, treasurer, deputy treasurer, secretary, deputy secretary, and adviser.

They socialized it by inserting the information in events and even made a simulation for the children. The targeted all age.

And finally, at January 2004, after preparations were done, sorting and processing waste movement were carried out by Sukunan Village residents. Although not all of them do it.

The interested citizens were encouraged to sort the organic and non organic waste in their own house. After their wastebaskets were full, the organic wastes were processed and the non organic ones were sorted. Some of the non organic ones were collected in the village’s garbage warehouse to be sold, and some other are recycled by the women.

At the beginning, Endah invited the local girls. But because of study activity and haven’t felt 'trapped' by the necessities of life, this training only run for three months.

Continued with four of seventeen PKK women who are interested, Endah went on her effort. Their crafts gave them income, though not much at first. But over time, the order increased.

From the income, they gave 70% for the crafter, 25% to indemnify the materials, 2.5% for the group saving, and 2.5% for social fund in PKK.

But different person, different opinion. For them who hadn’t been interested or didn’t have time to sort their waste, the wheelie bin which also serves the neighboring village were provided. They would pay a certain amount for the wheelie bin worker. The salable waste are usually taken by him and bring the rest to the dumpster.

There were also they who have had a composter but still use this wheelie bin worker services like a young mother. They still throw the residual waste like diapers, the unrecyclable waste.

“It’s not a problem, to change habit to be better is not easy and take time, indeed. Unlike the opposite,” Endah commented.

But once they’ve been able to do good and provide benefits for others and the world, it seems Endah and Iswanto are transmissivity. Beside have a deal with garbage, they also manage rainwater to be accommodated and clean so it can be reused. There is also human urine processing using EM4 and fermentation process to be a liquid fertilizer.

The use of pottery and sand as a natural refrigerator. Then the use of stainless steel pipes were laid out to pass the stove to save the gas. When cooking, the water in the pipes will also be hot. Then stored. So when they need hot water, they can use it directly from thermos, or at least they’ll only take a short time to make it boil.

Endah’s family also choose shower then bailer to save the water. And make the sunlight to be able to illuminate each rooms in their house to save electricity.

Maybe sometimes, the human limitless satisfaction can also give a positive impact. Like Endah and Iswanto’s family which began with the desire to resolve the minor issues. 14 years passed. Joy and sorrow. And now they are able to bring the tourist come and learn to their Environment Tourism Village, Sukunan.

“Because our earth is not inherited from our ancestors, but borrowing from our grandchildren. So we have to return the loan in a good conditions too, don’t we?” Endah smiled.


Written by Deasy Esterina

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