YUYU River Expeditions: from cleaning up our rivers, to not polluting them 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 visualize the waste in the river with photography and plastic installations and inform about the threats of plastic for human health and livelihoods.

River pollution: a global problem

From rivers all over the world, tons of waste, micro plastics and other pollutants flow to the oceans and seas every day, destroying the natural ecosystem. River pollution is a global problem and one of the biggest challenges we have to face together, today.

Asian rivers are the most polluted. Local industry, households and tourism produce much plastic waste. Another substantial part of the plastic waste is coming 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

We are setting up our first YUYU river expedition in Indonesia, along the Brantas river in East Java. We work with Ecoton, a local organization that informs youth and women groups about the values of healthy rivers and the impact of pollution on biodiversity, the riverine ecosystem, peoples’ health and community livelihoods.

During these trips, participants are invited to explore and investigate the condition of their river through practical river assignments, such as analyzing the water samples and plastic waste they have collected from the river. They see how river pollution damages river biodiversity and are inspired to make a change.

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, mountains of our plastic end 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.