KEY CONSIDERATIONS: Sungai Watch is deployed in tandem with floating booms that trap plastic debris in rivers for collection, processing and recycling; pilots are currently launched in Bali, Indonesia.
MORE INFORMATION: https://makeachange.world/sungaiwatch
Bali has a plastic pollution problem. So much so that the Balinese government declared a “garbage emergency” in 2018. In 2019 alone, there was 33,000 tons of plastic pollution that ended up in Bali’s waterways making its way to the ocean, according to the Bali Partnership report. With 60% of plastic pollution in our ocean coming from urban centers, solutions must be deployed downstream to capture plastic from waterways and physically stop the flow in our rivers. Of course, these efforts must also be combined with efforts to prevent plastic from entering waterways in the first place.
River Watch (Sungai Watch in Indonesia) is monitoring and installing physical low-tech trash barriers in Bali catered for smaller streams and rivers (a stream can be as big as 2 meters and a river as wide as 20 meters). From floating Trash Booms for rivers to Trash Blocks for smaller streams, they have partnered with German tech start-up Plastic Fischer to test out these solutions in Bali. They have a daily operation team that is charged to clean up each of their locations, with collected waste sorted at mobile sorting stations where it is washed, sorted, weighed and sent off for recycling.
River Watch has also developed an online platform that uses GIS mapping and artificial intelligence to monitor these plastic river cleanups. The River Watch map identifies intervention points along rivers and waterways, with live imaging and hyperlinked data files on plastic collection and processing at each intervention point. This data can be used to better understand the flow of plastic waste debris in Bali’s waterways, including volumes, types, brands and ultimately likely sources. This data can be leveraged by local authorities to develop effective upstream prevention policies.
Plastic waste monitoring system and programs are critical to identifying plastic types, volumes, brands and sources, in order for sound solutions to be implemented upstream. There are many new mapping products coming to market, though many are still in early phases of development. One similar and relevant product is Litterati.
CASE STUDY EXAMPLES
River Watch’s first pilots have been launched in Desas, Kerobokan and Tibubeneng to protect 4km of Bali coastline. They are currently in full piloting mode of River Watch and have decided to work on a Desa (municipality) model. To test out for full scalability, they are deploying 10 solutions in between two Desas: Kerobokan and Tibubeneng located in North Kuta in South West Bali. They are working with the local government and various communities to make sure they engage as many people with each of their solutions.