Although Pantai Bahagia is not far from Jakarta, it is a tranquil place of rice fields and mangrove forests. Endangered Javan langurs leap through the trees, and tidal areas are home to egrets, plovers, and other wading birds.
The area, however, suffers from its proximity to urban development. Industrial waste has polluted the nearby Citarum River, which empties into the Javan Sea. People cut many mangroves to make room for now-abandoned fish and shrimp ponds, causing siltation and erosion. As a result, the people of Pantai Bahagia must travel outside the village, by boat, to buy clean water for themselves and their animals.
The village is proposing to patrol and protect the remaining mangroves, about 50 acres. They will also replant almost 200 more acres with three mangrove species that grow well in local conditions. To help the project succeed, they will get expert advice from a nearby environmental institute.
Working with local organization Taman Belajar Masyrakat (Wildlife Learning Communities) and the Muaragembong Environmental Conservation Forum, Seacology is making a grant that will be used to install a water storage tank in the village and to build a community center. The center will focus on environmental education, particularly mangrove ecology. There, local youth will learn about the environment and how keeping it healthy is critical to their well-being. Village leaders hope this knowledge will give the youth pride in and a sense of connection to the natural environment.