Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid has joined the campaign for earth’s sustainable environment through his appointment as Ambassador for Bali Mangrove.
On Wednesday, 26 June, Ronaldo - popularly called CR7 - joined Indonesia’s President and First Lady, Ani Yudhoyono in planting mangrove seedlings at the Hutan Raya, - or the Great Forest of Ngurah Rai at Tanjung Benoa in Bali. The campaign is the initiative of the Bali Mangrove Forum led by businessman Tomy Winata of Artha Graha. The Forum aims to plant a billion mangroves across the Indonesian islands.
On the occasion, President Yudhoyono said that Indonesia has 3.7 million hectares of mangrove forests nation-wide. Mangroves have proven to be most important to prevent coastal abrasion and are buffers against the onslaught of eventual tsunamis.
Aimed at increasing public awareness on the importance of mangrove forests, the President galvanized the public to act and save Indonesia’s mangrove forests, restore the coastal ecosystem and biodiversity towards a sustainable environment for all.
On his side, Ronaldo thanked the President, adding:“ I am very happy to be in Indonesia. I hope my role in Bali can strengthen the message to save the mangrove”, Ronaldo said. Ronaldo is most popular in Indonesia and has a huge following of football fans around the archipelago.
In his speech , Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan informed the audience that Ronaldo first “fell in love” with Indonesia’s mangroves when during the 2004 tsunami that wiped out a large part of Aceh in northern Sumatra, a boy named Martunis was found alive saved by the mangroves after having been buffeted at sea for 19 days. The event that was widely broadcast around the world through tv and social media showed Martunis wearing a T-shirt with the words “CR 7 Ronaldo” on his back. Ronaldo, who saw the clip came to Aceh, met Martunis, who was then in 3rd grade primary school, and gave him a scholarship.
In his report Minister Zulkifli also said that Indonesia used to have some 9 million hectares of mangrove forests around the archipelago. But 70 percent of these have been now converted to plantations, agricultural land and human settlement.
Cristiano Ronaldo arrived in Bali by private jet accompanied by girlfriend Irina Shayk, They also took time to enjoy Bali, and were reported to be entranced with Bali’s dramatic kecak (monkey) dance, that depicts an episode from the great Hindu Ramayana epic poem.
If, like Ronaldo, you wish to join the Save the Mangrove campaign, log on to : www.mangrovecareforum.com
Photo courtesy : https://twitter.com/NGTravelerID
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