Rea Sofer and Niv Zellinger, two employees from a kayak rental facility in Kibbutz HaGoshrim, decided to use one of their days off to clean the Hasbani (Snir) river, a major tributary of the Jordan River, in northern Israel.
קיאקי קיבוץ הגושרים הושבתו בגלל הסגר, ושניים מהעובדים, רע סופר וניב זינגר ניצלו את ההפוגה למבצע ניקיון עצמאי של הנחל. התוצאה, סירות מלאות במאות, אם לא אלפי, בקבוקי פלסטיק וזכוכית, שזרקו מטיילי הקיץ לנחל@ynetalerts pic.twitter.com/tZ9ctR4LCU— אחיה ראבד (@AhiyaRaved) September 20, 2020
As Israel entered lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 in mid-September, its trails and rivers were left free of both foot and kayak traffic, respectively. Zellinger and Sofer saw this as an opportunity.
Along with their friend Nadav Ben Shushan, the three borrowed a few kayaks and diving suits from their work and began removing hundreds of glass and plastic bottles from the stream, in addition to other assorted trash items which included plastic bags, chairs, speakers and even tables, Zellinger told Channel 13.
Niv told Channel 13 that "it's a tradition here. Sofer does it every year. I joined this year, but I remember doing it as a kid as well. We took the rubber kayaks and started collecting trash from the stream, mainly glass and plastic bottles," he said.
"At the end of the season, all the kayak employees will round up all the bottles, sort them and send them out to be recycled."