Indonesian walking 700 kilometers backward to save forests

Medi Bastoni looks at mirror as he walks backwards in Bekasi, outskirt of Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Aug, 22, 2019. The Indonesian man is walking over 700-kilometer (430-mile) backward from his home in eastern Java to the country's capital to draw awareness of deforestation.(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Medi Bastoni, left, walks backwards in Bekasi, outskirt of Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Aug, 22, 2019. The Indonesian man is walking over 700-kilometer (430-mile) backward from his home in eastern Java to the country's capital to draw awareness of deforestation.(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Medi Bastoni walks backwards in Bekasi, outskirt of Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Aug, 22, 2019. The Indonesian man is walking over 700-kilometer (430-mile) backward from his home in eastern Java to the country's capital to draw awareness of deforestation.(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Medi Bastoni, left, walks backwards in Bekasi, outskirt of Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Aug, 22, 2019. The Indonesian man is walking over 700-kilometer (430-mile) backward from his home in eastern Java to the country's capital to draw awareness of deforestation.(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Medi Bastoni, 43, walks backwards in Bekasi, outskirt of Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Aug, 22, 2019. The Indonesian man is walking over 700-kilometer (430-mile) backward from his home in eastern Java to the country's capital to draw awareness of deforestation.(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Medi Bastoni, 43, gestures as he talk to journalist in Bekasi, outskirt of Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Aug, 22, 2019. The Indonesian man is walking over 700-kilometer (430-mile) backward from his home in eastern Java to the country's capital to draw awareness of deforestation.(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Medi Bastoni, 43, walks backwards in Bekasi, outskirt of Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Aug, 22, 2019. The Indonesian man is walking over 700-kilometer (430-mile) backward from his home in eastern Java to the country's capital to draw awareness of deforestation.(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

BEKASI, Indonesia — An Indonesian man is walking more than 700 kilometers (430 miles) backward from his village in eastern Java to the country's capital to raise awareness about deforestation.

Medi Bastoni began his arduous expedition on July 18 from his home on the slope of Mount Wilis, a dormant volcano in East Java province that has been affected by deforestation.

The 43-year-old is expected to arrive in the capital, Jakarta, on Friday. He hopes to meet President Joko Widodo, and ask him to re-plant trees on Mount Wilis and elsewhere.

"I'm doing this to raise people's awareness of deforestation," Bastoni told The Associated Press on Thursday when he reached Jakarta's satellite city of Bekasi, about 22 kilometers (13 miles) east of the capital. "I need the president's support to help reforestation efforts, hand-in-hand with other communities."

Indonesia for many years has chopped down its rainforests faster than any other country, profiting paper and palm oil conglomerates while causing social and environmental problems. Rapid forest loss and greenhouse gas emissions have made Indonesia the fourth biggest contributor to global warming after China, the U.S. and India.

This isn't Bastoni's first backward walk. The father of four completed a 73 kilometer (45 mile) walk last year from East Java's town of Tulungagung to the peak of Mount Wilis in a similar effort to raise awareness about deforestation.

Bastoni has attached a rearview mirror to his backpack that helps him avoid bumping into objects along his way. He walks at least 20 to 30 kilometers (12 to 18 miles) a day and sleeps in mosques or police stations along the way. In many cities and villages, cheering supporters offered him meals, drinks or a place to overnight.

He failed his target of reaching the capital a day before Indonesia's Independence Day on Aug. 17 due to a swollen leg that forced him to rest for a few days. Initially, he was scheduled to attend the ceremony at the presidential palace.

"I hope I can touch the heart of Pak Jokowi to start the re-green effort by giving me a tree," Bastoni said, referring to popularly name of the president.

People also read these

Beijing to spend $2.7 billion on cleaning capital's air

Jan 19, 2017

Chinese state media say Beijing will spend $2.7 billion to fight air pollution in the capital this...

Chinese Pres. Xi promotes 2022 Winter Olympics with visit

Jan 24, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed the need for sustainability and post-event planning on a...

A 360-degree view of China's deadly smog

Feb 9, 2017

When the smog descends over northern China, turning blue skies gray and thickening the air,...

China's coal consumption falls for 3rd year in a row

Feb 28, 2017

China has released data showing that the country's consumption of coal fell in 2016 for a third...

NHL staging preseason games in China between Kings, Canucks

Mar 30, 2017

The NHL will play its first games in China this fall when the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver...

AseanCoverage is a next-gen news site focusing exclusively on online news from South East Asia.