Horrifying images revealing the extent of the plastic waste flowing through a river in Indonesia have emerged.
The shocking pictures show workers and willing residents desperately trying to collect the rubbish as they begin the huge clean up session on the Bahagia river in Bekasi, West Java.
The plastic crawling through Indonesia’s Bahagia river has been polluting the river for months, attracting scavengers who collect materials to be sold to recycling plants.
A lot of the waste is thought to be domestic, however Indonesia is neighbour to other southeast Asian nations who accept imported rubbish from wealthy western countries like the UK.
The pictures have sparked global concerns over the plastic pollution clogging the water flow in the region.
Police, military personnel and local officer workers have all come together for the clean-up process which begun at around 7.30 Tuesday morning local time.
Locals from the area also volunteered to help out with the mammoth job, armed with bamboo sticks and other tools to de-clog the river.
As reported by the MailOnline, Bahagia sub-district secretary Mawardi told local media:
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 team collected the trash in sacks which were later loaded onto a garbage truck, however there’s estimated to be a grand total of 400 tonnes of garbage in the river, so they’ve got a huge job on their hands.
It’s suspected the rubbish came into the river from downstream and somehow became trapped along the Bahagia which is known to locals as Kali Busa or ‘foam river’.
The clean up process is even more difficult than anticipated because of the 204 shacks along the river bank, making it harder for officials to use heavy machinery in the process.
However, Mawardi reportedly said heavy equipment will later be brought in to dredge silt from the river.
The 1.5km long body of water has been filled with non-biodegradable domestic waste for the past five months, with materials such as plastic bags, bottles and polystyrene.
Since the pictures emerged, there have been global concerns over the water-clogged rivers in Asia after a number of dead see creatures have been found with kilos of rubbish in their stomachs.
According to the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) around 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year, with much of it ending up in landfills or polluting the seas.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.