Surabaya. The mayor of Surabaya and the head of Jombang district have received the Brantas Award for their efforts to clean up the polluted Surabaya River in East Java.
Mayor Bambang Dwi Hartono and Jombang district head Suyanto were set to receive the award from regional water company Jasa Tirta during a ceremony in Surabaya on Monday evening, according to Uli Muspardewanto, the company’s regional division chief.
The two officials were recognized for the important roles they have played in safeguarding the river.
“We don’t give this award to just anyone,” Uli said. “We monitor the nominees for a while and we [select winners for the award] according to the performance of those concerned.”
Uli said Bambang consistently espoused environmentally friendly policies and programs as mayor of Surabaya, while Suyanto initiated several key programs to rehabilitate upstream stretches of the river.
These programs, he said, helped empower residents on the riverbanks and encouraged them to give up destructive quarrying jobs to become patrol officials, ensuring greater protection of the river.
Teguh Ardi Srianto, the chairman of the Community of Environmentally Concerned Journalists (KJPL), said the Brantas Award was important because it encouraged regional heads to do more to improve the quality of local water, the rivers and other waterways flowing through their respective jurisdictions.
“If there weren’t regional heads who were firm in this regard or had a clear concept for managing the condition of the Surabaya River, in this instance, then the condition of the river would have become increasingly worse,” he said.
The award was not merely ceremonial, he added, but would have a positive impact toward protecting the wider environment in East Java.
The Surabaya River begins in the Malang plateau and passes through seven districts and municipalities before emptying into the sea on the coast of Surabaya.
Although it is a primary source for drinking water in the region, the river is heavily polluted with industrial and household waste.