100 Trash Barriers to Be Installed in Bali Rivers to Reduce Plastic Pollution

100 Trash Barriers are being installed in Bali. Make A Change

In recent years, Bali has been called the trash island of the world ever since a British diver recorded himself in one of the island’s most iconic dive spots fully surrounded in plastics. In December 2017, the Balinese Government even declared a trash emergency.

With 80 percent of plastic pollution in our ocean coming from rivers and streams, Make A Change is launching the Sungai Watch project which will place 100 trash booms around Bali along with the environmental startup Plastic Fischer to protect the island of paradise.

Sungai Watch is Make A Change’s newest project aimed at tackling the alleyways of plastic pollution, our rivers. “In the last 10 years, we have launched expeditions in some of the world’s most polluted rivers and have seen first hand the urgent need of action. So to celebrate ten years of hard work, we are excited to be giving back to where it all started, Bali” says Gary Bencheghib, founder of Make A Change.

With the support of Bintang, they are launching their 3 first river booms in tributaries of the Ayung river, Bali’s most important waterway. The river booms will be set up in the coming weeks and will follow an interactive educational campaign aimed at raising awareness about the importance of not throwing plastics in our rivers.

The booms are engineered by the German based company Plastic Fischer, an environmental start up founded by three friends, Georg Baunach, Karsten Hirsch and Moritz Schulz. They have the goal to intercept plastic pollution in our rivers through affordable technology solutions. For the past 5 months, they have been setting up waste collection solutions in Java including their proven successful pilot trash booms on the Citarum river. “We invented effective trash booms that are made of local materials to provide a simple and cost efficient waste collection solution for rivers as soon as possible. They are easy to assemble and maintain” says Moritz Schulz, Plastic Fischer’s leading engineer.

Two years ago, Gary and his brother Sam rowed down the Citarum River in Indonesia known to be the most polluted river in the world. Their two week expedition inspired Indonesian President Jokowi to clean the river. Since their expedition, Indonesia has deployed 7,000 military troops who are actively involved in the clean up. The clean up has become a priority on the President’s agenda and a national concern. So much so that there are university programs dedicated to the clean up and an important journalist coalition documenting the progress daily.

“We came up with the idea for Sungai Watch as a way to monitor rivers and unite communities in doing so. Imagine watching the cleanup of the world’s most polluted river in real time.” says Gary. Sungai Watch’s online platform will be made available to the public in early 2020. It uses GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping and artificial intelligence (AI) to see details in rivers of up to 10 centimeters. Gary hopes that it will be the go-to platform to clean rivers worldwide.”We are extremely excited about this collaboration with Plastic Fischer to bring their solution throughout various waterways around Bali. They have developed the perfect design that is scalable and affordable and we are excited to use these booms as a tool to engage with communities” says Gary.

The campaign which launched on Nov. 2 will include an expedition to trace the Ayung river waterway, as well as public screenings of educational films and videos in traditional markets and local banjars, community clean ups and educational sessions.

“Bintang is dedicated to clean our waterways. With 90-95% beer being water, we owe it to Bali to protect our rivers.” said Mariska van Drooge, marketing director PT Multi Bintang Indonesia Niaga, in Bali.

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