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The Indonesian island of Bali has been battling a plastic waste crisis for years, with the government declaring a “trash emergency” in 2017. Now, a new project called Sungai Watch hopes to fight plastic waste, which has decimated not only Indonesia but wider Asia and the world’s oceans, by installing 100 trash booms in Bali’s rivers. Run by local impact media outlet Make A Change World, the Sungai Watch project will also involve an educational campaign to raise awareness about plastic pollution and environmental conservation efforts.
Sungai Watch, launched by Balinese media platform Make A Change World, will see 100 trash barrier booms installed across the island’s rivers to combat plastic pollution. The first 3 river booms will be located in the tributaries of the Ayung river, Bali’s most vital waterway, and will be accompanied by an education initiative to raise awareness about not throwing plastics into rivers. The booms are engineered by German environmental startup Plastic Fischer, who have come up with this easily assembled and cost-effective solution that is manufactured using local materials.
Speaking about the crucial need for conservation efforts, founder of Make A Change World Gary Bencheghib said: “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 for action.” Indeed, cleaning up rivers is vital to the global fight against plastic and other waste, as 80% of pollution in our oceans come from just 10 rivers in the world, according to a report by the World Economic Forum.
Water pollution – pollution of our waterways, oceans and rivers – is a clear threat to the achievement of a number of our Global Goals. In a recent edition report, the World Bank warned of the “invisible threat” of water pollution, which will affect the health, economy, education and agriculture of both rich and poor countries alike, especially in Asia-Pacific.
Outside of the Sungai Watch project, Plastic Fischer’s tech-forward plastic waste solution has been employed in a number of other areas. For the past 5 months, the startup has set up waste collection booms in Java, and piloted them on the Citarum river as well, Indonesia’s largest and famously polluted river.
Other technological solutions have been employed in recent months to gear up efforts to fight Indonesia’s river pollution crisis. Jejak.in, for instance, is a tree management system that runs on artificial intelligence (AI) and internet solutions to collect and analyse ecological data on carbon absorption. The platform sends information to forest managers and government regulators, which enables more efficient tree restoration targeting, which could help encourage the return of fish species, reduce the risk of flooding and reboost agricultural yields in the area.
Lead image courtesy of Make A Change World.