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How Two Locals Led Indonesian Government to Clean Up World’s Dirtiest River

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As the saying goes, if you want to change the world, start with yourself. This was how two Indonesian local citizens, brothers Gary and Sam Bencheghib, were able to lead their government to finally take action and start cleaning up the country’s Citarum River, which happens to be the world’s dirtiest river.


With the use of two kayaks made up of plastic bottles, the two brothers paddled throughout the river, collected garbage, and filmed the entire activity.

Together with the other community initiatives in restoring the river’s cleanliness, the filmed cleaning-up activity was put into a documentary that was published online to increase awareness.

The documentary film eventually reached the government’s Waste Management department, Ministry of Environment, who responded positively by laying out an emergency plan. The department will be surveying the river to create a road map of most polluted parts, within a four-month period. The cleaning up will be conducted by the team with the help of the 13 mayors along the river.

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