BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – In an inspiring show of community spirit, more than 130 volunteers banded together in a collaborative effort to clean the Brunei River and its riverbeds.

Divided into two groups, the volunteers worked diligently and successfully collected over 1,300 kilograms of waste from various zones within Kampong Ayer.

In just one hour, 95 plastic bags of trash were collected from several areas in Kampong Ayer, including Kampung Siamas, Kampung Setia, Kampung Saba  Darat, Kampung Sungai Kebun, and Kampong Bakut Berumput, said local NGO Green Brunei.

Volunteers pulled out various items from the river including zinc roofing, diapers, plastic bottles and containers, a refrigerator door, bicycles, tyres, styrofoam, and sofa bedding.

Community Power in Action: Firemen help volunteers clean up the Brunei River. Photo: Courtesy of EU Cooperation ASEAN

The initiative was organised by the EU-Brunei Partnership Facility in collaboration with Green Brunei, as part of the EU-ASEAN Green Diplomacy Week.

A series of such events unfolded across different countries in the region from October 15 to October 22, 2023.

Formerly known as Climate Diplomacy Week, this initiative has evolved into a landmark annual event where EU delegations and embassies of EU member states host discussions and actions centred around climate change.

Under the new moniker of “Green Diplomacy Week”, the event continues to be a platform for success stories and inspiring further environmental action.

Volunteers clear over 1 tonne of debris and plastic waste from the Brunei River. Photo: Courtesy of Green Brunei

Ambassador Sujiro Seam, representing the EU mission to ASEAN, emphasised the critical role of clean rivers in preserving both the environment and the economy.

“The European Union is committed to supporting our partners in their respective green transitions, including ASEAN,” he said.

“This event shows our commitment to continue working together with ASEAN towards a greener future. It is an opportunity to celebrate the progress we have made, and to encourage individuals, communities, and organisations to take stronger action in future – to protect, preserve and restore our environment, for now and for future generations,” he added.