Youth of Maluku tidy up Salahutu Mountain

A picture of a huge amount of trash at Salahutu Mountain (Ambon’s second highest peak) went viral on social media, at the end of August, and led to a debate between netizens whether it was true or not. Young people from the Salahutu district confirmed that this was unfortunately true. They came up with the idea to create a WhatsApp group. Marsel from Waai village uploaded the first photo and the discussion grew, resulting in an initiative of a clean-up event called #salahutubebassampah.

Through teamwork, preparations were made in less than a week. Two meetings were organized at Rumah Pintar Tulehu with the people from Waai Village, to discuss an action plan, and the funding that would come from the participants themselves. However, where the trash would end up, after it had been carried down the mountain was another problem, because there was no landfill in the Salahutu District. Fortunately, some members of the Green Moluccas were on the team. The head of Green Moluccas is also the chief of Integrated Waste Management at the Environmental and Waste Department of Ambon City Government and responsible for managing and recycling all Ambon City waste, including the landfill in Toisapu. They helped coordinate with TPA Toisapu in Ambon to take the trash away.

On 6 September 2020, the action took place from 6am until 6pm. More than 100 young people from 34 different organizations and communities joined the #salahutubebassampah. The teams were divided into seven areas, from the climbing post near the entry point till the top (1003m). Some already stayed at their designated post the night before.

The trash was carried down to the entry point in trash bags and sacks, where the weighing was conducted. Since the last earthquake disaster in Ambon, this area had become a refuge for the people from Waai. Mothers who lived there provided free tea and snacks for the participants. The result was unbelievable, 100 kg of trash had been collected. It was then transported to TPA Toisapu by pick-up, which was provided by Bapa Raja Waai.

The event ended with a group photo and selfies among the participants. Gio, one of the senior participants, said that this was the first massive clean-up event he had ever joined, since he first climbed Salahutu Mountain in 1998.

This action showed that the spirit of collaboration Masohi is thriving among Moluccan youth regardless of their religion, organization, or villages they belonged to.

The evaluation of the event was held two days later. They discussed what other measures needed to be taken to deal with the waste management issue in the  Salahutu District as there is currently no landfill in that area. Currently, the people living in the Maluku Tengah region are not allowed to get rid of their trash in Ambon City because of the different authorities. The team is looking at ways to solve that issue and will soon organize another clean-up project in the not too distant future.

See map below of the Maluku Tengah area and Ambon City which illustrates the boundaries. Green is Maluku Tengah, which includes Salahtu District, the brighter one is Ambon City.