Turning the tide: Bali’s rivers reborn through community effort

Extraordinary images come from Bali, where a very famous environmental organization on the Indonesian island has struck again by cleaning up another river of waste. Another goal achieved to stem plastic pollution

In Bali, Indonesia, a place where dreamlike destinations and open-air landfills exist side by side, the contrast is stark and difficult to accept. Amidst this backdrop, environmentalist and activist Gary Bencheghib has once again led a remarkable effort to restore a river clogged with heaps of waste back to its natural state in record time. The challenge of plastic pollution on the island is daunting, yet Bencheghib and his team are relentless in their river cleanup operations, delivering astonishing results.

Unprecedented cleanup in just three hours

One of Bali’s dirtiest rivers was completely cleansed in just three hours. Sungai Watch, the organization founded by the Bencheghib brothers, took on the challenge near Dreamland Beach. With the support of volunteers from Drifter Surf and DLHK Kabupaten Badung, and fueled by immense effort, nets, and high motivation, the river underwent a dramatic transformation.

The variety of debris removed from the water is staggering: worn-out plastic bags, polystyrene, old bottles among branches, and even a wooden table, all now collected and disposed of. Volunteers went to great lengths, setting up barriers to retrieve every type of waste. The results speak for themselves—where once there was a pile of refuse, now flows a river anew.

A small step for huge change

Gary Bencheghib’s shared images underscore that with teamwork, it takes very little to make a significant difference. One can only imagine the achievements possible if targeted actions like these were more widespread globally.

Since 2020, Sungai Watch has been dedicated to restoring Bali’s ecosystem, installing over 180 barriers to catch trash from the rivers. The credit goes entirely to these extraordinary individuals. Their willpower is both an example and a call to action for everyone.

Source: Sungai Watch/Instagram

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