Workers attempt clean-up of 400 tons of plastic, bottles and garbage along Indonesian river

Shocking images have emerged of a river in Indonesia overflowing with rubbish.  

Workers alongside willing residents this week began the arduous process of collecting the trash during a mammoth clean-up session on the Bahagia river in Bekasi, West Java. 

Indonesia’s Bahagia river has been crawling with polluted, mostly plastic waste for months and attracts scavengers collecting the materials to be sold to recycling plants.   

Although the waste in the river is most likely domestic, Indonesia alongside neighbouring southeast Asian nations accepts imported trash from wealthy western countries. 

Global concern over plastic pollution has been spurred by shocking images of waste-clogged rivers in the region. 

Workers alongside willing residents have begun the arduous process of collecting the trash during a mammoth clean-up session on the Bahagia river in Bekasi, West Java, Wednesday

Workers alongside willing residents have begun the arduous process of collecting the trash during a mammoth clean-up session on the Bahagia river in Bekasi, West Java, Wednesday

Workers alongside willing residents have begun the arduous process of collecting the trash during a mammoth clean-up session on the Bahagia river in Bekasi, West Java, Wednesday

Indonesia's Bahagia river has been crawling with polluted, mostly plastic waste for months and attracts scavengers collecting the materials to be sold to recycling plants (pictured)

Indonesia's Bahagia river has been crawling with polluted, mostly plastic waste for months and attracts scavengers collecting the materials to be sold to recycling plants (pictured)

Indonesia’s Bahagia river has been crawling with polluted, mostly plastic waste for months and attracts scavengers collecting the materials to be sold to recycling plants (pictured)

Local district office workers, police and military personnel were all involved in the clean-up process which kicked off at around 7.30 am Tuesday. 

Some locals also volunteered to help out in the process, armed with bamboo sticks and other light tools.

Bahagia sub-district secretary Mawardi was quoted by local media as saying: ‘This is an emergency response. The local environment agency is supporting us. 

‘There are 10 military personnel, five sub-district office representatives and ten police officers.’ 

The trash was collected into sacks and loaded onto a garbage truck. 

In total there is an estimated 400 tonnes of garbage in the river. 

The clean-up process is made more difficult due to the 204 shacks that are situated on the river bank, making it harder for authorities to implement heavy machinery

The clean-up process is made more difficult due to the 204 shacks that are situated on the river bank, making it harder for authorities to implement heavy machinery

The clean-up process is made more difficult due to the 204 shacks that are situated on the river bank, making it harder for authorities to implement heavy machinery

Officials suspect the trash flowed into the Bahagia from downstream, and became trapped along the river, known to locals as the river Kali Busa, or ‘foam river’. 

The clean-up process is made more difficult due to the 204 shacks that are situated on the river bank, making it harder for authorities to utilise heavy machinery. 

Despite this, Mawardi said heavy equipment would later be brought in to dredge silt from the river. 

Over the past five months, the surface of the 1.5 km long body of water has been covered in non-bio degradable domestic waste, with materials including polystyrene, plastic bags and bottles. 

Jakarta has stepped up monitoring of imported waste in recent months as part of a push back against serving as a dumping ground for foreign trash.

For years China received the bulk of scrap plastic from around the world but closed its doors to foreign refuse last year in an effort to clean up its environment.

Huge quantities of waste have since been redirected to Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Indonesia and to a lesser degree the Philippines.

Global concern over plastic pollution has been spurred by shocking images of waste-clogged rivers in Southeast Asia and accounts of dead sea creatures found with kilos of refuse in their stomachs. 

Around 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), with much of it ending up in landfills or polluting the seas, in what has become a growing international crisis. 

 

 

Link hienalouca.com

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