After weeks of preparation, the new Khiri Reach project has been launched in July by Khiri Indonesia’s head office.
Gili Gede is one of the 56 Gili’s, or ‘small islands’, dotted peacefully around the much larger island of Lombok. It was selected for this project because of recent rapid development, as it is often viewed as a tranquil alternative to the three famous Gili’s: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air.
One of the island’s biggest challenges is that it is located in a part of the ocean where a ‘plastic soup’ tends to be washed up on its shores. Gili Gede consists of five small villages and a population of roughly 1,000. It now hosts the truly beautiful and sustainably minded Hula Hoop Bungalows and the more luxurious Kokomo Gili Gede resort.
Residents from all five villages, the owners and project partners of Kokomo and Hula Hoop, along with the island’s police force, were there to warmly welcome the team and accept the equipment donated to start building the recycling and separation bins for each village area – the first phase of the island restoration and protection project. Plans to have the trash removed to a recycling center on Lombok are now being put in place, but funds will be needed to ensure this long-term solution works on a regular basis.
During the tour around the island all participants were educated about garbage collection and the proper recycling processes, the importance of conservation and marine biodiversity, as well as beach clean ups dealing with the trash that washes ashore throughout the year. The next big beach clean up will be planned right after the peak season in September.
The second part of this important program will begin in October after the monsoon season has passed and the shoreline is at the right tidal level. Different types of mangroves that were once found in abundance will be replanted in designated coastal areas between the island’s five villages to help prevent further land erosion and to restore the natural habitat.
Working with local fishermen and residents, they will be guided on how to grow, take care and monitor the mangroves, while collecting and providing data to ensure the program meets its aim. They will also be educated on healthy balanced eco-systems as they have committed to becoming the guardians of their island home.
Khiri Travel will raise funds on an ongoing basis to support this program over the next two years, and welcomes donations and manpower to assist in the restoration and planting of mangroves, which will be taken care of by the five villages. Any additional support needed will also be provided, covering the local residents needs, until the project can become self-sustaining.