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  1. ITV Report

Indonesian man walking 430 miles backwards to save forests

Medi Bastoni, 43, walks backwards in Bekasi, on the outskirts of Jakarta Photo: Achmad Ibrahim/AP

An Indonesian man is walking backwards for more than 430 miles 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 slopes of Mount Wilis, a dormant volcano that has been affected by the Indonesia rapid deforestation.

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

Medi Bastoni is walking 430-miles backwards from his home in eastern Java to the country’s capital Credit: Achmad Ibrahim/AP

“I’m doing this to raise people’s awareness of deforestation" he said as he reach Jakarta’s satellite city of Bekasi, about 13 miles east of the capital on Thursday afternoon.

“I need the president’s support to help reforestation efforts, hand-in-hand with other communities.”

This is not the first time Mr Bastoni’s has walked backwards for a cause.

The-father-of-four completed a 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.

Mr Bastoni can see where he's going thanks to a rearview mirror attached to his rucksack that helps him avoid bumping into objects.

He is not short of support on his walk and has been greeted by cheering crowds in many of the cities and villages he passes through.

He walks at least 12 to 18 miles a day, sleeping in mosques or police stations along the way and has been offered meals and drinks by passers-by.

Medi Bastoni hopes to raise awareness of deforestation Credit: Achmad Ibrahim/AP

A swollen leg, which forced him to rest a few days, he did not manage to achieve his goal of reaching the capital a day before Indonesia’s Independence Day on August 17.

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,” Mr Bastoni said, referring to the popular name of the president.

Indonesia has chopped down its rainforests at a rate faster than any other country, greatly profiting paper and palm oil conglomerates.

But it has come at great expense to the environment and local people.

Rapid forest loss and greenhouse gas emissions have made Indonesia the fourth biggest contributor to global warming after China, the US and India.