The Jakarta Post
During their trip, the Frenchmen documented their experiences and shared it on Make A Change World’s Facebook page, aiming to raise awareness about the rapid need for change in Citarum River. (Make A Change World/File)
Citarum River in West Java was named the world’s most polluted river. Upon realizing this, Gary Bencheghib and his brother Sam Bencheghib hopped on two canoes made of plastic bottles and spent two weeks cruising along the river, starting from Aug. 14, 2017.
During their trip, the Frenchmen documented their experiences and shared it on Make A Change World’s Facebook page, aiming to raise awareness about the rapid need for change in Citarum River.
Their hard work paid off, as the government immediately responded to it. Gary told The Jakarta Post via messaging app on Friday that he was invited by Sudirman, waste management director of the Environment and Forestry Ministry, to see the director’s emergency plan in late September.
“Some of our local partners, Greeneration Foundation and Cleanaction Network, have been pushing legislation and action from the coordinating maritime affairs minister and West Java province since late September,” said Gary, adding that these partners were involved in weekly discussions with the various stakeholders in West Java, creating a ripple effect on Citarum River’s rehabilitation program.
In November, the government started a program to clean Cisanti Lake, the source of Citarum River.
Gary added that Siliwangi Military Command commander Maj. Gen. Doni Monardo had been at the forefront of the cleanup and had really moved things from mid-November. Finally, on Feb. 7, the government began cleaning Citarum River.
In a video posted on Make A Change World’s Facebook page, the rehabilitation of Citarum River was said to involve over 7,000 people, including the Indonesian army, local communities as well as national and regional administrations.
These communities came up with creative ways to stop the flow of plastic.
At the time of writing, waste banks and recycling centers had been installed in 22 sections along the river.
The Citarum River cleaning program has become the country’s big pilot project to protect its waste.
Following all the efforts, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo paid a visit to Cisanti Lake on Thursday.
In an interview with Gary, the president said, ”Citarum River, in seven years, will be the [world’s] cleanest river." (wen)