Make A Change is testing low-tech floating trash booms on smaller streams and rivers in Bali to act as physical barriers to prevent plastic pollution from going out to sea and cleaning up the island’s waterways.
Sungai Watch, River Watch in Indonesian, is the latest initiative from the Bali-based organisation which started life as a beach clean up project 10 years ago. It is an online platform that uses GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping and artificial intelligence (AI) to see details in rivers of up to 10 centimetres.
Partnering with German tech start-up Plastic Fischer, Make a Change are monitoring and installing physical low-tech trash barriers on Bali including floating trash booms for rivers and trash blocks for smaller streams.
The waste that’s captured by the trash booms and trash blocks is collected and taken to a mobile sorting station, where it’s washed and weighed before being sent off for recycling.
Environmental startup Plastic Fischer aim to intercept plastic pollution in rivers through affordable technology solutions. Prior to the Bali project, they set up waste collection solutions in Java including their successful pilot trash booms on the Citarum river.
Trashbooms are built using cheap, local materials – stainless steel and galvanised steel wire mesh, suspended from PVC pipes.
Moritz Schulz, Plastic Fischer’s leading engineer, explained: “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.”
With 80% of plastic pollution in our ocean coming from land based sources, Make A Change believe the most efficient way to prevent further plastics from going to sea is by physically stopping the flow in rivers.
Make A Change co-founder, Gary Bencheghib said: “We understand that cleaning up our waterways is not the optimal solution. The problem starts way before it reaches our rivers with the way plastic is consumed and how it is managed at end of use. With very limited waste management infrastructures available throughout Indonesia, most of the plastic ends up in our waterways making its way to the ocean.
Sungai Watch is about re-envisioning how we see rivers to turn them back into the pristine natural alleyways they once were. 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.”
Make A Change aim to install 100 trash booms around Bali to prevent plastics going out to sea.
Images Source: Make A Change Facebook page
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com