A fisherman from Bali's capital city of Denpasar has won the national Kalpataru Award, cited him as a "savior of the environment." The award has been given to Wayan Patut from the island of Serangan, locared within Denpasar's city limits, who is well known for his untiring dedication to reef preservation and restoration along the shore of his island community.
The Kalpataru Award is an annual recognition bestowed by the Indonesian government to individuals or groups who have pioneered conservation and environmental preservation efforts. Wayan Patut received his award at a special ceremony held at the National Palace in Jakarta on June 7, 2001, held only two days after World Environment Day on June 5th.
Beritabali.com cited Patut's hard work dating from 2003 to re-grow coral reefs near the reclaimed beaches of Serangan that began after he saw the massive destruction coral reefs caused by reckless development of his island home.
"Before 2003, the fishermen and coral miners at Serangan, including myself, actively destroyed the surrounding reef. We cut and picked away at the coral to sell as building materials at a pretty high price," explained Patut.
A transformed man and now a devout conservationist, Wayan Patut now dedicates himself to rebuilding the coral he once destroyed and exploited with his fellow villagers. Over the past seven years, Wayan Patut's days have been filled with acquiring the know-how and skills to plant and encourage new coral growth off the shores of Serangan island.
At a shore-based workshop, Wayan Patut and fellow villagers build the frames with nicknames such as "reef ball" and "pyramid" on which new coral reef will be planted, take hold and grow. The group, calling itself "Karya Segara," also make the "base rock" that is attached to the frames, acting as the catalyst for the reef that will eventually cover the frames.
The man who once destroyed coral reef is now a tireless campaigner, reminding everyone he can of the key roles played by coral in the ocean's food chain. In this way, he warns the coming generation that the destruction of the natural environment can't be tolerated for any reason.
Wayan Patut warns: "The coral reef is very important for the life of the sea. In addition to be the place where a variety of fish live, the coral reef also absorbs carbon, helping to clean pollution from the atmosphere."
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