YUYU River Expeditions


YUYU River Expeditions: from cleaning up our rivers, to not polluting them at all.

Discovering the beauty of rivers

Makara is launching a new initiative: the YUYU River Expeditions. YUYU River expeditions are organized to inspire and connect upstream communities to protect their rivers from pollution. We study the biodiversity and water quality and learn about life and communities along the river. We show how much waste ends up in the river with photography and plastic installations.

River pollution: a global problem

Rivers around the world carry tons of waste, microplastics and other pollutants into the ocean every day, causing major damage to the natural ecosystem. River pollution is one of the biggest challenges of our time.

Rivers in Asia are the most polluted. Local industry, households and tourism produce much plastic waste. But a substantial part of plastic waste comes from Western countries.

YUYU aims to solve the problem at its source: not just cleaning the rivers, but preventing them from being polluted. This requires action – in Asia and the Netherlands.

Actions in Indonesia

The first YUYU River Expedition travels along the Brantas River in East Java, Indonesia. This is done in cooperation with the local environmental organization Ecoton. We exchange knowledge with local communities about the ecology, cultural values and recreational opportunities of the river.

Participants of the YUYU River Expedition take water samples, analyze the amounts of microplastics under a microscope and remove plastic waste from the river. Sometimes this includes packaging from Verkade, Mentos and Hak. They see how plastic is damaging the river’s biodiversity and are inspired to take action.

Actions in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is in the top 10 of countries from which Indonesia imports tens of millions of kilograms of plastic scrap. As a result, our plastic ends up in East Java, where there are not enough recycling facilities. 

We take the knowledge collected on the YUYU River Expeditions back to the Netherlands. We share our information about the damage done by Dutch plastic waste export in Indonesia, and call on Dutch policymakers to take measures against the export of plastic waste.

Start of an Asian YUYU network

YUYU River Expeditions will create a network of active communities along rivers in Asia. Our goal is to empower communities by connecting them so they can share their solutions to protect their river.

YUYU River Expeditions is supported by Dutch design agency NorthernLight.