Cleaning up Bali’s Waterways



The rivers in Bali, Indonesia, central to burial rites and the placement of the island’s most sacred temples, have been overrun with garbage for years. As reported by Hakai Magazine, a new organization, Sungai Watch, is hoping to restore the pristine beauty to Bali’s waterways. 

Gary Bencheghib, founder of Sungai Watch, got his start by collecting trash from the river himself and selling it to a recycler. But when Bencheghib began sourcing sponsorships from organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, he was able to expand the project. For an annual pledge as low as $210, donors can have a section of river named after them.

Sungai Watch removes trash from the rivers through a system of 110 barriers that trap the waste. Then, employees remove and sort the trash, diverting some to be recycled or composted, collecting data on types of plastic and the manufacturing brand, and working with governments and corporations to enforce better waste management. Since its start in October 2020, Sungai Watch has collected more than 800,000 pounds of plastic. Its next goal is to install 1,000 barriers throughout Indonesia and begin expanding its cleanup internationally.

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