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Gary Bencheghib – Sungai Watch Hotline

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Most of the waste in Bali is still not properly managed. As much as 52% of Bali’s waste, 2,220 tons per day, to be precise, is not handled properly.  Every day 944 tonnes (22%) are wasted around it, 824 tonnes (19%) are still burned, and 452 tonnes (11%) are wasted into waterways. Especially for plastic waste, the highest amount is floating in the river, which is 20.7 tonnes per square km. As for the beach, as much as 3.9 tons, while the land is reported to have  2.1 tons per square km.

Back in January, the problem of waste returned to Indonesia, especially at Kuta Beach. Approximately 30 tonnes of garbage was transported from the Kuta Beach area in a beach clean-up activity involving TNI and Polri personnel, Scout members, the community around Badung and government officials. We are in crisis. This is an emergency level of waste management, not just in Bali, but in Indonesia. 

We talked with Gary Bencheghib, at Sungaiwatch Headquarter to get a better understanding of the situation, what they do, and what we can do, not just to save Bali, but to also save ourselves from the toxic waste surroundings. 

Sungai Watch itself is a community river cleanup organization that has the mission to protect waterways, starting in Indonesia. Gary and his siblings grew up in Bali and they saw first hand the direct impact plastic pollution was having on their home island, Bali.  In 2009, they then started “Make A Change Bali,” a youth-led environmental organization on a mission to clean up coastlines, at that time they were only 12 (Sam), 14 (Gary), and 16 (Kelly). ‘Make a Change World’ now is their official media platform and Sungaiwatch is one of their most active initiatives. 

Citarum River was their first biggest cleanup. One of the dirtiest rivers in Indonesia, to almost every river there is in Bali. From Dreamland Beach Channel to smaller rivers and waterways close to your home (yes, now you can also WhatsApp Sungaiwatch’s Hotline to let them know which river needs cleanup).

At Sungai Watch, everything is data-driven to start a conversation with corporations (regarding their extended producer responsibility), distributors, governments and consumers. You can read their River Plastic Report features data from August and September 2020, where they collected 5.2 tons of waste. Now, they are launching their hotline, where you can report via WhatsApp, if you have seen a river full of trash that is in desperate need for a cleanup. Send them the location and they will clean it up for you. Also, they are currently making more barriers  to prevent plastics from entering into the ocean, you can also donate for this cause.

You can help volunteer with Sungai Watch, or donate to help them make the barriers, and or report a river in need for cleanup to their hotline: +62-8123-6666-188 , website: and IG @sungaiwatch 


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