Over the past few months in 2023, Bandung has faced a serious issue – the accumulation of waste reaching tens of thousands of tons. Even after the waste emergency status was lifted in Greater Bandung, Bandung declared a waste emergency until December 26, 2023. In response to this problem, the Material Engineering Students Union from ITB (MTM ITB), together with the Metallurgy Students Union ITB (IMMG ITB) and River Clean Up, joined forces to take concrete actions. 

On December 19, 2023, these three organizations conducted a Hotspot Cleanup in the Sadang Buntu area, a tributary of the Cilimus River. The collaborative effort involved numerous students working together to clean up and remove waste from the water flow to the Sadang Buntu segment. 440.6 kg of waste was collected during this activity. 

This collaboration stemmed from the desire of MTM ITB members to engage in community service by involving the HMJ at ITB and external ITB institutions. The decision to involve IMMG, which has academic connections with MTM, and to contact River Clean Up was not only to impact the community positively but also to raise awareness among MTM ITB students regarding waste and river issues in Bandung. 

The choice of this project was based on the consideration of taking simple yet sustainable actions, namely raising awareness among the community and MTM ITB students. Through this initiative, people will better understand the importance of maintaining the cleanliness of rivers as part of the ecosystem that supports life. 

Rivers and communities are closely interconnected, with many settlements built around rivers to utilize their resources. Therefore, efforts and community awareness are necessary to sustain the benefits. This community service activity is not just about physically cleaning the river but also educating the community and students about the impact of waste on the environment. 

During this process, MTM ITB students learned that 80% of plastic waste in the ocean comes from rivers. Awareness of the close relationship between rivers and oceans is crucial to designing long-term solutions. Kayten Sadewo, Head of Social Affairs at MTM ITB, explained that the main source of the problem is the need for more public awareness of the importance of maintaining river cleanliness and the impact of waste on the ecosystem. 

According to Kayten, as Material Engineering students, adopting biodegradable plastic and eco-friendly polymers is the long-term solution to addressing plastic waste issues in Indonesian rivers. By adopting these types of plastic materials, the adverse effects of plastic waste on rivers and ecosystems can be minimized. 

Through this real action, students hope to clean up physical waste and raise the community’s awareness of the importance of maintaining river cleanliness. The success of this project lays the foundation for more collaborations and joint projects in the future because only through collective efforts can we achieve sustainable change and ensure the continuity of our environment.