I think we can all agree upon the stark reality that our oceans are now painfully bearing the brunt of pollution streaming from rivers worldwide. We now hold an important key to solving the problem, and we must address the ongoing problem of river pollution. Organizations like “Make a Change” (Now Sungai Watch) are helping to bring awareness to communities and are seeing huge positive changes in ocean ecosystems once a program is in place. It’s a monumental task to set the barriers on the rivers and manually clean and bag the trash but also huge to make use of the materials and repurpose as much as possible. Furthermore it is not a one and done deal. It has to be cleaned everyday.


Growing up on the island of Bali in Indonesia, we saw first hand the direct impact plastic pollution was having on our home island. In 2009, we started “Make A Change Bali,” a youth-led environmental organization on a mission to clean up beaches at ages 12 (Sam), 14 (Gary), and 16 (Kelly). Fast forward a few years, we started. using our passion for filmmaking to shed light on these environmental injustices we were experiencing.

We use filmmaking and social media as a tool to create change and reach large audiences. Our Make A Change videos have now garnered over 1 billion views across various social media platforms. Our projects have included running across the US with up-cycled plastic shoes to traveling down the world’s most polluted river on plastic-bottle-kayaks, which inspired Indonesia’s biggest mass clean up.

While filming our video series and in our travels, we have seen the detrimental effects plastic is having on communities and the environment. We hope that through storytelling, we can showcase the solutions available to fight plastic pollution and the many other environmental issues our planet is facing today.

At the rate that we are destroying our planet, we believe that no idea is crazy enough to protect it.


Sungai Watch: Strategy To Clean Rivers

· We map the sources of river pollution to optimise the placement of our barriers

· We install multiple barriers per river to better understand flaws in waste management

· We organize emergency cleanups at illegal landfills and along riverbanks to prevent plastic from entering rivers

· We host education and socialization campaigns with local communities to prevent throw-away behavior

· We partner with governments to develop clear waste management roadmaps

Impact achieved:

We are scaling rapidly and currently expanding our operation throughout Bali and in Java, Indonesia; the world’s most populated island and home to 90 of the world’s 1,000 most polluted rivers. We are also researching an international expansion throughout Asia and beyond.


Once cleaned and sorted, the waste is handed off to Sungai Design, which shreds and presses the material into large panels. CNC machines cut parametric components that are fashioned into a line of modern chairs, while offcuts are recycled into other products. Available in two shapes and three colors, the speckled designs both feature wide, sloping seats and angular legs. Each recycles an estimated 30 kilograms of plastic.

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