3 years ago
keshie
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Exploring the Citarum River's clean spot
Despite being the longest and largest river in West Java, the Citarum is sadly not a popular tourist destination. In fact, it is probably a destination tourists want to avoid, as it was recently added to the list of the world's 10 most polluted places, alongside Chernobyl in Ukraine, by The World’s Worst 2013: The Top Ten Toxic Threats, an annual report released by environmental organization Green Cross Switzerland and international nonprofit organization the Blacksmith Institute. The Citarum, which provides 80 percent of surface water to Jakarta and irrigates farms that supply 5 percent of Indonesia’s rice, was among the most polluted due to hazardous industrial waste from textile factories in Bandung and Cimahi, among others. Following the report, West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan has called on all stakeholders to work together with the government to restore the 297-kilometer river that supports 27 million people living in areas along the river basin. The restoration program will be carried out in an integrated and systematic manner from 2014 to 2018. It will start at the upstream section of the river, stretching 60 km from the Cisanti catchment area, at the foot of Mount Wayang, south of Bandung city, down to the Saguling Dam. Polluted or not, the largest water basin on Java is still the key water source for West Java and Jakarta and its water is still used for irrigation, agriculture, fisheries, industry and hydropower. For those who are curious enough, not all the river is an unattractive tourist destination. Interestingly, from its 297-km length, the Citarum has around a 7-kilometer secluded part, also known as Citarum Purba, that still has clean water as well as an ancient karst cave called Sanghyang Poek. The water here is clean due to some of the river pollutants being stuck at the Saguling Dam. Sanghyang Poek was originally an underground river, but since Lake Saguling was dammed, it became an attractive cave with enchanting living rocks thanks to the presence of stalactites and stalagmites. Visitors who want to explore this ancient cave are required to bring adequate lighting. Other than the varied altitudes of cave chambers, you should also be careful so as not to disturb the life that grows inside them. The terrace of Citarum Purba is very attractive thanks to its inviting flows of clean water, several large rocks that can be climbed and an impressive large cave canopy. About 100 to 150 meters from the Sanghyang Poek's terrace, after crossing various large rocks on either side of the river or even the water (ankle to thigh high, for adults), you will find a big tree with hanging roots. Not far from there, you will also see a big rock that looks like a shark's head. You may swim there and maybe act like Tarzan with the hanging roots. If you are starting to feel a bit cold, you can also enjoy the sunlight from above the big rocks. You might also meet some locals who are passing by and casting nets to catch fish - locally known as genggehek or wader, a type of freshwater fish. This secluded part of the Citarum is not yet a tourist destination, so you won't find any gate or entry fee, but it already serves as a science laboratory for students majoring in geology and geography as well as a favorite spot among earth science enthusiasts. How to get there Citarum Purba is around 1.5 to two hours drive from Bandung to Rajamandala (Padalarang). Before reaching Rajamandala Bridge, turn left toward Saguling hydropower. Around 20 minutes later, you will arrive at the main gate of the Indonesia Power Hydroelectric office. Continue the journey by walking around 500 meters on a dirt path heading to Sanghyang Poek. Tips - Once you get there, remember that you shouldn't kill anything but time, leave anything but footprints and take anything but pictures. - Watch your step. Jumping from rock to rock will probably prevent you from getting wet, but it could be dangerous since not all rocks in Citarum Purba are dry and have flat surfaces. It you don't mind getting wet, walking along the river is much safer. - Bring enough food and drink since you won't find any food stalls there. The last food stall is available about a few hundred meters before the main gate of the Indonesia Power Hydroelectric office. - Bring a trash bag so you can bring your trash home with you. Do not litter at the river. - If you are interested in exploring Citarum Purba more, further on from Batu Hiu, then you should not go alone. Take a local guide with you. You can contact Mata Bumi to help you arrange - Rony Noviansyah (+62 856 2478 4548) or visit Mata Bumi's Facebook account facebook.com/mata.bumi.indonesia.
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