This man is installing 100 trash barriers in Bali’s rivers to stop plastic pollution

trash

(Antoine GIRET, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Kate Whiting, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • Sungai Watch is the latest initiative from Gary and Sam Bencheghib, whose Make a Change platform promotes ocean plastic clean-up.
  • Make a Change has partnered with German tech start-up Plastic Fischer to test floating trash booms for rivers and smaller trash blocks for streams on Bali’s waterways.
  • They want the project to be implemented around the world.

In the summer of 2017, brothers Gary and Sam Bencheghib rowed down Indonesia’s most polluted river, the Citarum, on two kayaks made from plastic bottles.

Two months later, they paddle-boarded their way along two of New York City’s most polluted waterways.

“At the rate that we are destroying our planet, we believe that no idea is crazy enough to protect it,” says Gary, who founded Make A Change with Sam 10 years ago to help clean up the beaches on their home island of Bali.

Fast-forward to 2020. Younger brother Sam is just weeks away from completing a coast-to-coast run across the United States to raise awareness of the plastic pollution problem – and Gary is preparing to launch Make A Change’s latest initiative to solve the plastic crisis at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.

Cleaning up

Called Sungai Watch – from the Indonesian for river – it’s an online platform that uses GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping and artificial intelligence (AI) to see details in rivers of up to 10 centimeters.

100 Trash Barriers To Be Installed in Bali Rivers To Reduce Plastic Pollution
Gary, pictured, as he installs a number of Trashbooms in one of Bali’s rivers
Image: makeachange.world

“Imagine watching the cleanup of the world’s most polluted river in real time,” says Gary, who hopes it will become the go-to platform to clean rivers around the globe.

For now, his ambition is to install 100 trash barriers in Bali’s rivers to catch the plastic waste before it reaches the ocean.

Around 90% of the marine plastic transported by rivers to the ocean originates from just 10 waterways. Indonesia is second only to China as the world’s largest contributor of this kind of waste to the ocean plastic problem – with four of its rivers among the top 20 polluters globally.

Bali’s pollution problem is so bad the government declared a “garbage emergency” in 2018. Tourists arriving on the beach at Sanur, Denpasar, in April that year had to pick their way through the debris.

After the brothers’ two-week expedition rowing down the Citarum, Indonesia deployed military troops to clean up rivers.

Trash booms

Trashbooms are a quick and simple solution to stop floating waste in rivers
The trasbooms consist of PVC pipes as a floater and galvanized stainless steel mesh that functions as a catching net.
Image: Plasticfischer.com

Make a Change has partnered with German tech start-up Plastic Fischer to test out floating trash booms for rivers and smaller trash blocks for streams on Bali’s waterways.

Each day, the waste that’s captured is collected and taken to a mobile sorting station, where it’s washed and weighed before being sent off for recycling.

Trash booms are built using cheap, local materials – stainless steel and galvanized steel wire mesh, suspended from PVC pipes.

Karsten Hirsch, CEO of Plastic Fischer, says, “We are convinced that we need a cheap solution that you can build within a few days, that you can do it on your own and put it into every river in the world.”

Plastic

What is the World Economic Forum doing about plastic pollution?

More than 90% of plastic is never recycled, and a whopping 8 million metric tons of plastic waste are dumped into the oceans annually. At this rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050.

The Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP) is a collaboration between businesses, international donors, national and local governments, community groups and world-class experts seeking meaningful actions to beat plastic pollution.

It aims to show how businesses, communities and governments can redesign the global “take-make-dispose” economy as a circular one in which products and materials are redesigned, recovered and reused to reduce environmental impacts.

Turning the tide on plastic

The launch of the first trash boom on a tributary of the Ayung river, Bali’s most important waterway, was attended by Dr. Ir. Safri Burhanuddin, Coordinating Minister of Maritime affairs, who praised Make A Change and reconfirmed the country’s commitment to solving its plastic pollution problem.

“The government has committed to the UN and the world that we have to reduce at least 70% of the marine litter to the sea by 2025…Gary has made a movement to make sure Indonesia achieves this target.”

As Gary prepares to launch Sungai Watch globally in Davos, he says, “If we can stop plastic pollution before it reaches our ocean, we’ll be able to drastically reduce this problem before it becomes uncontrollable.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

COP22 addresses a strong global pledge to effectively implement the Paris Agreement

Financial support for workers affected by no-deal Brexit

UN’s Bachelet addresses progress and setbacks in human rights worldwide

The European Union continues to lead the global fight against climate change

Shaping the future of democracy in Armenia

Why the agtech boom isn’t your typical tech disruption

What’s really driving corporate climate action?

These innovations could keep us cool without warming the planet

In West Africa, UN Security Council visits Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau

UNICEF reports uneven progress in 30 years of child rights treaty

Friday’s Daily Brief: hunger in North Korea, human rights in Iran, updates on DR Congo and Benin

Multilateralism’s ‘proven record of service’ is focus of first-ever International Day

China hopes EU Commissioner De Gucht drops super anti-dumping tariff on solar panels

Restoring prospect of peace in Middle East is ‘our shared responsibility’ UN envoy tells Security Council

Industrial price dive may lead to point of no return

Alcoholic drinks: Commission tables update of rules governing alcohol excise duties

Anti-vaccination: a private choice leading to collective outcomes

UN appeals for international support as flood waters rise in wake of second Mozambique cyclone

UN condemns deadly attack against G5 Sahel force headquarters in Mali

UN chief calls for ‘immediate end’ to escalation of fighting in southwestern Syria, as thousands are displaced

This app uses augmented reality to rewrite ‘herstory’

Cocaine and opium production worldwide hit ‘absolute record highs’ – major threat to public health says UN study

Greece: The new government of Alexis Tsipras shows its colors

The world’s landmine stockpiles in numbers

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate Change needs to be demystified”, Anneli Jättenmäki Vice President of European Parliament underscores from Brussels

3 ways to make the 2020s the decade we close the gender gap

“Our house is on fire.” 16 year-old Greta Thunberg wants action

How cocoa farming can help stop deforestation

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

AI-driven companies need to be more diverse. Here’s why

Cameron readies to support ‘yes’ for Britain in the EU

MEPs boost support for EU research and Erasmus

EU adopts retaliative measures in response to US steel and aluminum tariffs

In Finland, speeding tickets are linked to your income

‘Negative developments’ undermining two-State solution in Middle East

EU Court of Justice invalidates Safe Harbour and the game for thousands US businesses suddenly changes

EU and UK soon to be in a post-Brexit rush over free trade agreement with Australia

Conflict diamonds and climate change: Cooperate, don’t compete over natural resources urges Guterres

‘Transformational benefits’ of ending outdoor defecation: Why toilets matter

Protecting whistle-blowers: new EU-wide rules approved

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

Mental health: what can be done to diminish increasing suicide rates?

4 ways 3D printing can revolutionize manufacturing

Water supply a human right but Greeks to lose their functioning utilities

Gender equality: an issue much talked about but less acted upon

10 tonnes of trash was taken off Everest – and repurposed

“None of our member states has the dimension to compete with China and the US, not even Germany!”, Head of EUREKA Pedro Nunes on another Sting Exclusive

CDU-SPD agree the terms for EU’s Banking Union

This is how people in Europe are helping lead the energy charge

Terrorist content online should be removed within one hour, says EP

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change and youth inaction: oblivion or nonchalance?”, AIESEC wonders from Brussels

In Washington D.C., Guterres signs pact with World Bank, meets US President Trump

Eurozone’s credibility rock solid

Medical ethics in the age of the social media influencers

Fairness in the Food Supply Chain: Commission welcomes Member States’ support for greater price transparency

This is what the world’s waste does to people in poorer countries

Time to be welcome: Youth work and integration of young refugees

Why the ECB had to clarify it caters for the entire Eurozone not just Germany?

A seafood fraud investigation DNA tested fish sold in the US. Here’s what they found

Revolutionary technologies will drive African prosperity – this is why

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s