One year after Ekspedisi Sungai Jogja 2011, we thought it would be great to compare Code River with the other rivers in Yogyakarta. Code River is one of the three main river that runs through the Yogyakarta city, with Winanga and Gajahwong located on the west and east respectively from where Code is. Our friend Zaeni from Cantigi Indonesia posted some gorgeous photos taken from the upstream part of Winanga River. The photos were tempting us to do another visit and so we choose Winanga River as our next destination.
Timbil (Agus Tri Budiarto) made a facebook event to invite anyone who would be interested in joining us on this project. The result was quite impressive. There were 30 people from 15 communities who showed up for the project. Many of them also come from different communities having their own interests on the river. Early in the morning we did a coordination meeting and off we go to Winanga River.
As we have more participants in this JRP, so were the activities we conducted. Besides gathering water samples and taking visual documentations of the river, we also collect non-organic trash, did a live tracking using GPS and did a mapping of animal and beneficial vegetation (for the local communities). We also did a mapping on utilization of self-sufficiency water resources by the local communities living on the riverbank of Winanga river.
Like the last project in Code River, we divided the participants in two different groups to walk on both side of the Winanga river. I was with the left team with 14 other participants. As soon as we started to walk, I can see the big difference between Winanga with Code River. Winanga is more natural with shady trees and much less populated compared to Code. However this is also a problem for us as we couldn’t pass many part of the river with our bare foot. Many times we have to re-route, passing housing and villages beside the river.
Apart from the beauty of the riverbank area, there was one obvious problem that we saw as we walk on the river. Garbage. It was everywhere, even on the top of the trees. It seems that there are several regular floods that left Winanga with ‘plastics presents’ and left them on the trees during the water level rising. The plastic stayed on the branches of the trees when the water level decline and no one is cleaning it as there was too much too handle and many of them are beyond a normal person’s reach.
But the cause of these garbage are not the eruption alone, but also the people. It seems that the communities threw daily garbage to some places in the riverbank and then it piled up and became a disposal site. It was quite sad to see it, but these problem are a complex one on the communities. Not only the infrastructure of a proper waste disposal site, but also waste management and education are pretty much a few main things that is needed for the communities.
Beside waste, the housing of the communities living on the riverbank areas rarely using a proper sanitation facilities. Household waste water is thrown to the river without any process. However we didn’t really have a valid data from the field, but I remember pretty clear it took me almost 5 minutes when I have to cross a feces sewer crossing the path during the expedition.
To get a better and accurate gathered several water samples on our way in the expedition. Several students from Microbiology Laboratory of Agriculture Faculty UGM was with us. Winanga river is not as dense as Code River, but we need some valid proof over the water quality in Winanga. So the collaboration with UGM are really helpful.
Still, the river is an essential part for the life of the communities on the riverbank area of Winanga. People are using water from the river for their daily needs. Many times we passed children taking a swimming bath and people washing their clothes on the river. Sometime we caught some people taking their ‘private time’ on the river as well :D.
Personally, I like Winanga river better than Code river. The walk was quite far, but i enjoyed it a lot! (Well, minus the sewer cross when I was about to throw up because of the smell). Winanga have a more natural environment, big trees everywhere, protect us from the heat from the sun. In total , I don’t know how many kilometers we walked, but it must be more than 6 kilos, farther distance compare to what we did in Code river.
We walked until 15.00 PM heading to Hutan Pangan Cultural Centre, our last destination point of JRP. The scientist group already separated from us, since we took a very long distance on this trip. The last part of the travel was just fill with fun and jokes. Everybody look quite tired, and arround 16.00 we arrived at Hutan Pangan Cultural Center. Tim and Rachel, a friend of us who run Hutan Pangan, have prepared some snacks and water to quench our thirst. After the snack, drink and some jokes, we headed back to G-land riding a public bus.