Guest Post: Small Actions Matter – #ocLean Mops Up Indonesian Beaches

Hey folks! This week’s post is a very special one because it’s a guest post written by a team comprising of Medina Avdagic, Lara Böckmann, Sophia Dümmig and Svenja Helmers – students from Westphalian University of Applied Sciences, Germany who collaborated with students of Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia. They’re on a mission to pass their “News Gathering and Reporting Class” here and to spread this awesome, eco-friendly movement in Krakatau Island. A while back, they set out on a trip to the island and met with the face behind this awesome project called “#oClean” and they came back with an important message from the island to us.

Endless beaches, beautiful forests, mountains, active volcanos, big cities and adorable little villages. Indonesia is a multifarious country that has everything a traveller wants to see. But no matter where you go, there is one thing you will find everywhere: Garbage.

As beautiful as this country can be, everything is flooded by trash. And the worst thing is: Almost no one seems to recognize. #ocLean is a project that actively goes out, cleans Indonesian beaches and tries to make the people aware of what they do to that wonderful country.


Ricky Isnanto, the face behind #ocLean, started the project two years ago. The idea is to take groups of people on a boat to clean the beaches. In return he organises unique adventures: Hiking, diving, snorkelling, surfing, camping and a lot more. No matter where they go: Fun and awesome memories are included. Ricky always brings in locals to help him and get involved. “I am educating them in every single way”, he explains. Improving their English skills, being aware of their use of plastic, taking care of hygiene and communicating with people.

On the 18. And 19. November, Ricky started one of his trips. For the first time he took a group of folks to Krakatau.  28 people from 8 different countries came together to clean up the beach. The participants are persons, who really care about the ocean and the environment. “I don’t take people who only say ‘Hey I have money, take me on a trip’”, Ricky states with a grin. For him it is not about the money, it is a social business. “I spread the word mouth to mouth”- that is the best way for him.

In only two hours, the group on Krakatau island collected huge piles of garbage. It seems impossible to find and end. 6.250 tons of garbage are being transported daily to the garbage dump Bekasi in Jakarta. 20 percent of which do not even reach the dump, but fall off to lay on the streets or in the ocean. Various parts of Indonesia are not provided with waste management services at all. Only 16.7 million tons of garbage are collected by official services every year. In comparison, according to the Indonesian Ministry of Environment, there are 116 million tons of waste remaining uncollected.

“This is too much”, Ricky says while pushing some of the plastics into a big bag. As a reward, he takes the whole group on a hike on top of Anak Krakatau. The volcano on the neighbouring island is still active and on 500-meter height, it creates a breath-taking view over the ocean, while the sun slowly sets. “These trips cannot provide any luxury”, Ricky explains. But the adventures create their own kind of luxury: Freshly caught fish, traditional food, beautiful views, clear water, fluorescent plankton in the dark and camping at the beach of a former volcano. These are experiences, that are totally worth a hard night on the ground of a tent.

So far, #ocLean is a small project. But Ricky wants to expand. He bought some land in Carita, wants to build a retreat, a swimming pool and a yoga-platform in the middle of the rice fields. From that place he wants to invite people to join his trips. “By next week, I am going to start building a wooden boat, as a bigger and better way to take groups on #ocLean trips”. The boat shall be ready for the season of 2018. The profit of #ocLean will be split into three thirds: two parts for the retreat and the locals. With the last part of his profit, Ricky wants to help HIV infected kids and other unfortunates in Jakarta by providing trips for their joy.

People who get to know this man, clearly see that he loves what he is doing. He simply recognized, that the locals do not have an idea of how badly the conditions in Indonesia are. He does not want to blame anyone, he just wants to do something against it. By taking the locals on his trips, they are getting aware of what it means to live sustainable. “We are so far from where we want us to be”, he admits, “but it’s small things- small actions matter”.

To see more of the progress and the work of Ricky and #ocLean, follow ocLean_indonesia on Instagram.

*This blog post was produced by  Medina Avdagic, Lara Böckmann, Sophia Dümmig and Svenja Helmers for “News Gathering and Reporting” Class headed by Pak Salvatore Simarmata, as a collaboration between Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia, Jakarta and Westphalian University of Applied Sciences, Course of Study: Journalism and Public Relations.


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