Self-proclaimed full-time riverman, Gary Bencheghib (@garybencheghib), posted an Instagram Reel of his team cleaning a heavily polluted river in Saba, on the Indonesian island of Bali.
Collecting floating trash and other pollutants stuck in the surrounding soil and vegetation, Bencheghib highlights the waste crisis in so many rivers around the world while doing what he can to mitigate this issue.
The Reel showed some cleanup crew members removing waste from the river and stream bank. Others were pulling trash from the soil, often so compacted they used large hooks to remove it.
At one point, a team member looks over an area of trash entangling the vegetation. He throws what seems to be a rock onto the debris-covered ground, creating a splash of water as he says, “Look at this, this is a river.”
What looked like trash on the ground was a portion of the river with its surface completely covered in waste.
“This is an issue that so many rivers in Bali are facing,” Bencheghib says as he stands waist-deep in murky water surrounded by floating trash, collecting pieces in a disposal bag.
Other clips of the Reel show a young plant attempting to sprout through trash, thick cross-sections of the ground piled high with debris, and waste riddling almost every piece of the land.
“We’re trying to find a long-term solution so that this never happens again,” he says while holding up a bag of waste while wading in the polluted river.
Bencheghib captioned his post by stating that he and his crew don’t want to spend their days removing trash from rivers like the one shown.
“If not us, then who will clean this up?” he asks.
Collecting — or intercepting — trash in rivers is one of the most effective ways to prevent oceanic pollution. The work that Bencheghib and others do is impactful, but more effort from companies to create more circular and less wasteful products is imperative.
Hundreds of comments praised this team for their efforts. Others were ashamed of the magnitude of this pollution issue, and a handful of users shared their opinions on solutions for this waste crisis.
“It’s sad that such a beautiful place gets turned into a waste dumping ground,” one user commented.
Another said, “thank you for caring and for your hard work.”