Saving Bali’s Rivers – Sungai Watch

Especially in Indonesia the pollution of rivers is a big problem. The Citarum in Indonesia was even named the dirtiest river in the world a few years ago. On the occasion of the ever-increasing pollution of our rivers, we want to present you today a solution, how Sungai Watch does this in Bali.

The organization Sungai Watch is a community river cleanup that believes simple trash barriers could stop plastic pollution, stopping plastic and other trash before it gets into the ocean. Sungai Watch has found an affordable opportunity with its trash barrier. Besides building the barriers, their task is to clean up the trash that the construction collects.

In their first River Plastic Report they published that in 2020 Sungai Watch managed to reach their goal of 25 installed trash barriers in Bali. For 2021 they have set the ambitious target of 100 barriers. Sungai Watch can be proud of their community because up to 200 volunteers help with the weekly clean-ups.

The collection and processing of garbage are not very simple. After collected from the rivers, the garbage must first be pre-sorted into residual waste and recyclables. In this phase, the recyclable waste must also be sorted into categories, such as plastic bottles, plastic bags, straw lame, and so on. But only after the pre-sorting the real work begins because the waste is then divided according to brands and documented. To first understand which brands are the biggest polluters and to point it out to the brand, with the goal that the brands rethink their plastic pollution.

The recycling of the waste collected from the river is not as easy as one might imagine. Because often the garbage comes from riverbanks and illegal landfills where the garbage has accumulated over years. As a result, the garbage is often mixed with a lot of sand and soil, which makes recycling difficult. Therefore, only about 35% of the garbage is recyclable.

The majority is residual waste which includes textile waste, construction waste, sanitary waste, and organic waste. It is important to mention that almost 30% of the residual waste is contaminated by sand and soil.

Solutions that Sungai Watch proposes to address the plastic problem include massively increasing the collection and cleaning of our environment, encouraging people to rethink plastic packaging and that “garbage” must be seen as a value. It also requires real scalable solutions to deal with waste and education about waste and how to deal with it.

So how can you help? You can simply help with the weekly river clean-ups in Bali. You can also support Sungai Watch with a donation and even become a sponsor for a trash barrier.


Big thank you to Sungai watch for making this world a better place!

Make A Change - Sungai Watch
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