Childhood Memories Motivates Prigi Arisandi to be Environmental Activist

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Prigi Arisandi while giving motivation to prospective students at Airlangga Convention Center. (Photo: Feri Fenoria)

UNAIR NEWS – Prigi Arisandi increasingly known to wider audience with his services as an enviromental activist in stoping industry polution in Surabaya river which provides water consumed by around 3 million people. Furthermore, Prigi was awarded with Goldman Environmental Prize from San Francisco foundation.

After outstanding alumni talkshow at Airlangga Education Expo (AEE) on Sunday February 17, Prigi Arisandi admitted that he was very happy to be given the opportunity as speaker and shared his story to prospective UNAIR students.

Prigi told his story on becoming an environmental activist. He spends his childhood  in rural environment, Bambe Village, Driyorejo, Gresik. Prigi said that he always spends his time in river and taking a bath in there. Moreover, Prigi admitted that he was often thrown into the river by his friends.

Everything has changed, when paper industry factory built near the river. At that time, Prigi was studying in Surabaya so he didn’t know what had happened. When he returned to his hometown and wanted to take a bath in the river, Prigi realized there was something different because he smelled mud in the river water.

After being investigated, turned out that the river was used as a factory waste disposal site. Even though, under the river is used for the flow of PDAM water consumption.

“That was the reason why I established Ecoton Community,” Prigi explained

He said that it also inspired Prigi to have a high empathy spirit. This was proven when he founded Ecological Observation and Wet Conservation (Ecoton) community. Ecoton is an environmental observer study group that was initiated by Prigi in 1996. Ecoton itself focuses on researching rivers in Surabaya.

“I always carry test kits in campus to conduct research,” Prigi continued.

In 2000, after 4 years Ecoton was established. The community officially legalized as a foundation. Now, Ecoton has 11 research staff and 50 volunteers.

The good news is Ecoton has spread throughout Indonesia. In addition, many overseas campuses send requests for their student to do internships at Ecoton foundation.

As UNAIR Biology alumnus, Prigi advised the students should be aware with their surrounding environment. Students should know about these kind of enviroment issues and share their knowledge to public.

“There are 4 type of Muslim according to Imam Al Ghazali, the first is well-educated person and he knows it. Second, someone who is well-educated but he doesn’t know if he is well-educated. Third, people who are not well-educated and he knows it. And fourth, people who doesn’t know anything, “Prigi explained.

Prigi said that students should not be in the fourth type. Be a student who has empathy for others. Usually, people only think of their own interests. From now on get up and make a change. (*)

Author: Tunjung Senja Widuri

Editor: Binti Q. Masruroh

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