Author: Ahmad Muzaki, S.Sos.
Would you imagine Mangroves as one of the typical coastal plants have thousands of benefits? The fruits, even the roots are beneficial for humans and nature. The fruit can be processed into various excellent products that have economic value. The wood harvested can be used for firewood. For coastal ecosystems, the benefits are also magnificent, mangrove forests are a habitat, shelter, foraging for food, breeding, and a place for migration of various flora and fauna. Mangroves are also the mainstay plants to protect beaches from the threat of abrasion and to keep waste from entering the ocean. When the phenomenon of marine debris (small waste) and marine litter (large garbage) occurs, the waste that comes from the middle of the ocean is carried away by the current and returns to the mainland. Mangroves have a role as natural waste traps that trap waste. Hence, it does not return to the ocean because the waste will be trapped in the roots and stems.
The difference between all the benefits of mangroves mentioned above lies in how they work. The good news is that the economic benefits of the existence of mangroves can be obtained if they can be managed properly. Nonetheless, mangrove fruit will not cause harm if it is not processed. In ecology, mangroves will be able to process naturally without human intervention. However, when carrying out its role in protecting the environment, mangroves require human intervention. In the process, waste trapped in the roots and stems of mangroves must be taken immediately. If not, it will affect the growth of the mangrove itself. This will certainly be a problem. On the other hand, it is an opportunity to rebuild harmony between humans and nature. Basically in the industrial era, humans began to ignore environmental sustainability. We have to reflect on this case. If we want to take revolutionary action, it will be a big homework for us to determine the solutions that can be done.
We have a lot of solutions to build harmony with the environment. Starting from learning and trying to use environmentally friendly products in daily life, reducing the use of single-use plastics, not littering, especially in rivers and seas, to answer the challenges in managing waste trapped in mangrove roots. Although many efforts have been made to clean up the waste trapped in the mangroves, not many people can do it completely, especially cleaning the waste in the middle of the mangrove forest. So, let’s be the initiator who can answer the challenge.