HAS recognizes an important opportunity to contribute to the recycling solution in Sumbawa and we are experimenting with recycling techniques. It is possible to build water tanks, field enclosures, and storehouses from eco-bricks of various kinds. In 2017-2018 HAS built an animal containment wall across the front of the clinic using bottle bricks. We are developing a promising technique of mixing shredded plastic bags with earth to make adobe eco-bricks.
Sumbawa has an agricultural economy and corn cropping dominates. Every year hundreds of hectares of old forest are newly slashed and burned to make room for more corn. The new fields are mostly steep mountain slopes, unsuited to cultivation. The human energy invested in growing row chops by hand is staggering. We estimate it takes more than 3,600 hours of labor per cropping season just to defend 2 hectares of corn from domestic and wild animals. The environmental toll caused by erosion is devastating. The evident poverty tells us that this agricultural system is not serving the needs of the people.
There are better alternatives. HAS supports the development of permaculture, fruit and vegetable farms which yield better quality food and higher incomes per hectare. Nut tree orchards such as cashews improve local nutrition and farm incomes. Cashews were first introduced to India by the British for soil conservation. Today the nuts sell for high prices. See our Food Page for more information.
In the future HAS intends to raise funds to support the restoration of turtle & reef fish populations, coral and other near-shore marine-life, which has become depleted. Protein from the sea is vital to the welfare of coastal families, and abundant sea life such as the thousands of migratory sea turtles which once nested on these beaches would attract eco-tourism dollars.