Several volunteers organized the Sungaiwatch community to clean the rivers in Bali.
The organization is inseparable from the role of Gary Benchegib, a French filmmaker and environmentalist, along with his two brothers, Kell and Sam. The initiator of the Make A Change World program initially focused on cleaning up plastic waste around beaches in Bali with volunteers.
The aim was to introduce a culture of responsible waste management to protect rivers in Bali.
“Sungaiwatch is monitoring rivers so they do not turn into landfills as is the case today,” said Ray, Sungaiwatch Development Manager on Monday, February 22, 2021.
The campaign to protect the river has been launched in 2019. The three brothers saw environmental issues as very important.
They conducted a massive river clean operation through a program called Weekly-Cleanup. They are also developing affordable barrier solutions to prevent plastics from entering the ocean.
“Our goal with this Weekly-Cleanup, is a form of building awareness of volunteers and the community about the current condition of the river, and this is a form of direct education,” said Ray.
The cleaning location that is currently the main focus of Sungaiwatch is the cleaning and installing garbage nets on rivers in Badung and Tabanan Districts. So far, approximately 30 rivers have been cleaned at certain points. The cleaning process usually takes more than once.
A total of 19 volunteers work every day to clean the trash in the river that is caught in the garbage nets. They then sort out the trash that can still be recycled. The volunteers are also tasked with installing garbage nets consisting of TrashBlock, TrashFloater, and TrashWalker, in various locations to be cleaned.
The installation of a filter device called the Trash Barrier is considered effective in stopping rubbish from entering rivers, waterways, and beaches in Bali. The three types of garbage filters are placed according to size. All three tools are easy to assemble and maintain. So far, Sungaiwatch has also installed 27 TrashBarriers.
After the waste is transported from the river, Sungaiwatch will implement three stages of recycling, namely Pre-Sorting or waste divided into types that can be recycled, Brand Audit, or selecting categories based on (brand, condition, and color), and recycling.
The community does not work alone but collaborates with various partners in Bali regarding the waste that will be recycled.
“The most common waste found is plastic bags, there are 18% of them,” said Ray.
It seems easy, but the work in the field is full of challenges. From a technical point of view, for example, the limited equipment and equipment that is owned, the condition of the river which is not easily accessible, the extent of the river and its depth. They also have to convince residents to accept that the river in their area was cleaned and is no longer a garbage dump.
Even so, optimism remains. Ray even targets that in the next five years, Sungaiwatch will be able to install garbage nets in all rivers in Indonesia, not just Bali.
This year, they plan to implement TrashBarrier around small rivers in Citarum.