Using two kayaks made from re-purposed plastic bottles, two brothers paddledwhat has been called the most polluted river in the world. Gary and Sam Bencheghib made the nearly 200-mile journey down the Citarum River in Indonesia to raise awareness and document the extensive ecological devastation.
The Citarum River is 40 miles east of Jakerta, and extends from Wayang Mountain to the Java Sea. It irrigates crops and provides drinking water for more than 25 million people. Until the late 1970s, the river was healthy and full of fish.
As the area surrounding the river industrialized, however, it became overloaded with human-made waste. Agricultural runoff, chemicals, sewage, and an immense amount of trash now fill the river. The water is thick and dark, and parts of the river are filled with trash piles so thick people can actually walk across.