Village of Transformation: Desa Kluncing’s Remarkable Journey from Pollution to Pristine Ecotourism

Once a polluted gathering spot for bathing, laundering, and waste disposal, the small river now flows serenely, harboring a rich tapestry of freshwater fish in varying sizes and colors in Desa Kluncing, Banyuwangi.
In an impressive feat of sustainable transformation, the village of Desa Kluncing in Banyuwangi has emerged as a model for change. Within a span of fewer than eight months, the community successfully converted a once-polluted stream into a thriving fish pond, now doubling as a captivating tourist destination. Situated within the Licin district of Banyuwangi, at the foothills of Gunung Ijen and approximately 15 kilometers from the town center, Desa Kluncing has become a shining example of how collective efforts can drive eco-friendly change.


Fish Village in Kluncing Village, Banyuwangi

The captivating vistas of mountainous terrain welcome visitors as they enter the Kampung Ikan (Fish Village) area. The small river, once marred by pollutants, now flows serenely through the front yards of local homes for a kilometer-long stretch, hosting a diverse array of freshwater fish in varying sizes and hues. Bupati Banyuwangi, Abdullah Azwar Anas, marveled at the enchanting transformation during his visit, highlighting the picturesque beauty.
This turnaround reflects a dramatic shift, where the river was previously littered with trash and served as a communal bathing, laundering, and waste disposal site. The metamorphosis was brought about by the initiative of the community and catalyzed by Rusady Awanto, affectionately known as Wawan. Distressed by the river’s sorry state, Wawan, a fish enthusiast, initiated the idea of nurturing fish in its waters. His efforts led to a surprising reduction in trash as the local community joined the endeavor.
Wawan’s approach resonated with local leaders and community members, encouraging them to embrace this transformational endeavor. Headed by the village chief, the collective effort saw numerous households introduce fish into the river, resulting in a notable reduction in waste disposal. With the river now pristine, even those without proper sanitation facilities were inspired to construct toilets in their homes.
The success of Desa Kluncing’s metamorphosis has fueled ambitions for further development. Collaborating with Banyuwangi’s Department of Fisheries, the village is poised to evolve into an integrated tourism hub. This vision encompasses fish farming, growth, and a culinary experience that revolves around the locally nurtured fish. The village now hosts a canteen, where the delectable dishes crafted by local women’s groups have garnered praise, even from the Bupati himself.
Hari Cahyo, Head of the Fisheries Department, explained how Desa Kluncing’s efforts align with the Barkanli program (Controlled Fish Stocking), which embraces controlled fish breeding practices. He also revealed plans to nurture those interested in similar initiatives, with 10 comparable areas already established within Banyuwangi.
Bupati Anas, during his visit, not only lauded the transformation but also contributed to its expansion. He handed over 2,000 fingerlings of tilapia and catfish, personally releasing them into the village’s fishponds. Desa Kluncing serves as a testament to the potential that can be realized when communities unite to combat environmental challenges, paving the way for a greener, more sustainable future.