24.11.07

Creating Pesticides from Plants?

We all know that pesticides nowadays use too many artificial chemical ingredients, and it’s dangerous for our health. The chemical ingredients stick to the vegetables we eat, and then carried away into our body when we eat it. But we haven’t found a good way to get rid of pests. Using animals to eat the insects is still too expensive. Despite these problems, a young man from Indonesia has found a way to do this.

Sulfahri (18), a young man from Sulawesi (Celebes), Indonesia, has created pesticides from the bulbs of Dioscorea hispida, a relative to the air potato. The plant is widely known as gadung in Indonesia, and is edible if boiled. However, it contains poisonous natural chemical ingredients, and may cause nausea and vomiting if not processed well. Sulfahri made the pesticide from these chemical ingredients. The pesticide itself is especially formulated to kill a specific kind of ant that damages cocoa plants. After a long research and camping in a cocoa plantation, he succeeded in making the pesticide. His work is published in a competition sponsored by Lifebuoy®, and he was one of the winners in the category of technology developing.

Making pesticides from plants has been known in the farming business for years. Some made it from gadung, and other from tobacco. However, their works aren’t widely known around Indonesia and other parts of the world, until Sulfahri made his own pesticide and won a competition. The recipes have been published in the internet for quite a long time, but not many farmers use it. We can only hope that other farmers can start making pesticides from ingredients around them. It’s easy. If the government is willing to publish the recipes in newspapers, then the popularity of bio-pesticides – that’s what I call it – will rise. Let’s just hope, and support the government to do these acts.

6.11.07

Better Living in Jakarta

Devoted to those who live in Jakarta -- and for those who want to see something better from it.

We can make Jakarta better with efforts from all of us.

First of all, Jakarta needs more trees and public places. The parks we see now are mostly defunct. Some of them even turned into gas stations. We can see gas stations in the middle of green belts in Jakarta. If we don’t do something to limit the numbers of gas stations, there will be no trees to absorb pollution, and also fewer parks for wild animals and people to relax. Trees in the parks also help absorb, hold, and maintain underground water. Without them, our supply of underground water will be depleted, and we won’t have clean water for our house. Ground levels will also go down if the underground water runs out, because the water supports the ground. If the water runs out, the underground water level gets low, and so does the ground.
Also, we need to add more environment-friendly public vehicles and cut down the numbers of private vehicles. Public vehicles nowadays (not counting the new and environment-friendly Transjakarta Bus and the gas fueled Bajaj) contribute more air pollutants than private vehicles, because their drivers are not taking care of their vehicles. Also, too much private vehicles will cause traffic jams and pollution. We should refrain from using private vehicles when travelling short distances. Don’t use your car if you’re going to the market a few blocks away. Use your bike or walk. If travelling long distances, try using the Transjakarta, because it’s cheap and fast. The government should strictly regulate the quality and quantity of vehicles to avoid pollution and overcrowding of vehicles. We shouldn’t be ashamed when taking the bus. We should be proud for being a part of the act to stop pollution.

In addition, teenagers need other places to go, not only malls. We have too much malls and unnecessary buildings. Some of them are discontinued in the middle of the building. Maybe we should build parks for teens, where they can play basketball or maybe riding their skateboards. The parks will need trees and other plants of course. The environment will absorb pollutants, and teens get healthy in the process. Lead and other chemical substances in the air can degenerate children’s and teenagers’ brains and bring health problems. Another problem is that not all teenagers are rich, and not all of them can go to malls and enjoy their facilities. Those who can’t go to malls need space to play, but the space they need is taken by malls. One case can be found in Central Jakarta. Some children and teenagers were found swimming in the fountain of Plaza Indonesia. A picture was taken and shown in the newspaper. The picture shows one of the main problems in Jakarta: lack of open space. In order to quell this problem, the government should stop giving new permits to build malls, office buildings, and housing estates starting next year.

Finally, we need to promote healthier lifestyle to Jakarta citizens. We live in an unhealthy place, and it’s bad for our health. What’s worse is that we are endangering ourselves with our lifestyle. Smoking, drinking alcohol, eating junk food, and relying too much on machines, you name it! These acts are making us even less fit than the slowest mammal on earth, the sloth. A sloth is a kind of mammal that only eats leaves, and nothing else. Just leaves. This makes them get less energy, and use a small amount of energy every day. Their hearts beat very slowly, so they move very slowly too. Isn’t it embarrassing? Are we going to be like the sloth and move slower than a monkey? Of course not! We should act now and beat the sloth out of the fitness charts. Eat vegetables and do sports twice a week. For the sports, you don’t have to go to fitness centers and pay big. You can just do some jogging or running around the neighborhood. For a better result, you should walk ten thousand steps a day. It helps maintain the strength and form of your back bone, and it also helps prevent osteoporosis along with milk. It’s just a cheap and easy way to get a healthy life.