Mount Rinjani as seen from Sembalun

The river used as the local rubbish tip.

Walking the fields in Sembalun

Our view over Sambalun from the hill

This blog was written by Emily Ressia,  a recent participant on our Indonesia Living Oceans Trip. 


After a long day of travel, we arrived in Sembalun, a small village cradled in the mountains of northern Lombok.  Home to Mount Rinjani, its an attractive destination for adventure tourists wishing to climb the volcano. It is also home to one of CERES Global’s key partner organisation in Indonesia, Sembalun Community Development Centre (CDC) and Muji, one of our travel companions who joined us in Bali to learn about the plastic waste issues alongside the rest of the group.

As part of  the CDC’s ecotourism work, local families have turned their houses into homestays, providing accommodation for tourists and volunteers. We stayed in these homestays for two nights. I couldn’t be more thankful to the family that I stayed with. Despite the language barrier we faced, they were warm, hospitable and respectful.

The CDC have several focuses within the community, including ecotourism, education and organic farming.[1] Their use of “self-motivated programs has resulted in a significant change in and enhancement of their community’s quality of life”.[2] Through individual and group discussions, we were able to learn more about the work that they are doing and the challenges with plastic waste that they face.

There is no formal landfill site or waste management facility in Sembalun, and so the locals dump most of their rub