Sam started Sungai Watch with his brother and sister. Sungai Watch works to protect Indonesia’s waterways by installing barriers that prevent plastic pollution from entering the Ocean. As well as working with the local community and volunteers to collect, sort and up-cycle plastic pollution from rivers, Sungai Watch uses barrier installation as a tool to educate local communities about plastic pollution, and build advocacy off the back of plastic data analysis.
Sam Bencheghib is an environmental activist and co-founder of Sungai Watch. After moving to Bali, Indonesia from France at the age of 7 he started his environmental journey at a young age along with his two siblings Gary and Kelly. Together in 2009 they started a weekly beach clean up movement and eventually founded Make A Change World a media and production company, focused on getting plastic pollution on front page news through video series and expeditions. In 2017, Sam and his brother Gary kayaked down Citarum – the world’s most polluted river – and inspired Indonesia’s biggest cleanup with 7,000 military soldiers.
In 2019, Sam ran 3,000 miles across the United States – from New York to Los Angeles – with up-cycled plastic shoes to raise awareness about plastic pollution. Today, Sam and his siblings are fighting for clean rivers through their new venture, Sungai Watch. With a team of 80 full-time river warriors, they have created a streamlined decontamination process using floating barriers to collect, sort and up-cycle river plastic into value. Since starting Sungai Watch in October 2020, they have installed 180 barriers on Bali’s rivers and they have collected 620,000 kilograms of plastic.
They are now on a mission to install 1,000 barriers throughout Indonesia’s most polluted rivers and begin to expand their operation internationally.
You can read Sungai Watch’s 2022 impact report here.