France 2- Envoyé Spécial Documentary, 2015
Assistant Fixer
Directed by Mathilde Pasinetti

The Citarum is a 300 kilometre long river, one of the largest on the Indonesian island of Java. Also known as the « Indigo river », it used to be renowned for its purity but is now swamped by mountains of putrified garbage. Despite this, some villagers seem to take advantage of this situation.

Amid the stench is Mamane, a former fisherman turned dumpster diver. For hours, he explores the river in his boat, navigating through tons of waste scavenging for plastic that can later be sold for recycling.

The water is no longer consumable, Mamane’s skin is itchy from dipping his hands into it without protection, fish are near to nonexistent and bathing is not possible anymore. However, villagers seem to deal with this overwhelming amount of trash.