Lesser-known Gili island to get major makeover

Efforts are underway to preserve the beautiful Gili Gede island as it begins to receive more visitors. Source: Shutterstock.

BALI HAS A SERIOUS PLASTIC PROBLEM and its neighboring islands aren’t taking any chances.

About a 90-minute fast boat ride away from the Indonesian island is Gili Gede island, the lesser-known Gili island as compared to the Gilis (Trawangan, Meno, Air) off northwest Lombok.

Although not as populated as the other Gilis, the relatively untouched Gili Gede will be getting a major makeover.

There are a total of 26 different Gili islands surrounding Lombok.

As aforementioned, the most popular Gilis are Trawangan, Meno, and Air. But their fame comes with a price and as throngs of people crowd the white sand beaches on those islands, travelers are looking for quieter and more serene alternatives.

Although Gili Gede is still considered a new, up and coming island, efforts are already underway to preserve it as it begins to receive more visitors.

In collaboration with one of the few accommodations on the island, Hula Hoop Bungalows, inbound tour operator Khiri Travel Indonesia’s charitable arm Khiri Reach will launch a long-term commitment to reduce plastic garbage and replant mangroves on Gili Gede.

In particular, the program will remove trash, build garbage collection carts and recycling separation cages, and install Nazava water filters to reduce reliance on plastic water bottles.

As for Gili Gede’s mangrove restoration project, preparation for groundwork is currently underway.

Khiri Reach and Hula Hoop Bungalows will purchase different species of mangrove, an important marine breeding ground and a buffer against coastal erosion.

The partnership will engage the help of local villagers for the program by encouraging them to plant and care for them.

Khiri Reach ambassador for the project Brigita Helgania said that working closely over the long term with villagers on the island would be key to success. “Our partnership with Hula Hoop and the villagers will promote environmental education and show that small steps taken locally can make a big difference,” she explained.

The project will begin in October.

Meanwhile, Khiri Travel is asking its travel agent partners and businesses to raise funds for the mangrove project or help with the physical planting.

Money raised will buy drinking water filtration units (US$22 each) to reduce plastic bottle use and fund regular transportation of recyclable plastic from the island to a recycling center on mainland Lombok.

If you’d like to be a part of that cause and contribute to the island’s long-term mangrove replanting, drop Helgania an e-mail at brigita@khiri.com or visit their website to find out more.

Other Gilis in the area, dubbed the “Secret Gilis”, include Gili Rengit, Gili Asahan, and Gili Layar.