POSITION - What a place for children to grow up in. The setting is fine,
the pollution and plastic waste is not. Beach cleaners around the world would
have a field day here on these banks.
Citarum is the leader at 1st place on a list of 10 of the dirtiest rivers in the
world, the Citarum River is generally regarded as the most polluted river in the world.
infamous river is located in Indonesia, flowing down a basin that is home to millions of people. Due to the increase in industrial development and almost zero waste management, the river is succumbed by domestic, chemical, industrial and numerous types of water pollution.
The fisherman that once depended on the clear waters of this river for their lively hood, now cast their nets not to catch fish, but instead, to catch certain garbage that might have a scrap value. The Citarum river has turned fishermen into garbage men.
ninety percent (90%) of plastics in the ocean comes from just 10 rivers.
Nine of these rivers are located in Asia and one of them borders Thailand.
The top 10 most polluted rivers in the world have one thing in common – they are located alongside large human populations with
poor waste management
GANGA - The Ganges is considered to be the fifth most polluted river in the world. It contains human waste and industrial contaminants, but provides water
for about 40% of India's population, yet millions of Indians depending on it for their daily
needs. In 2015
this river was considered to be the 2nd worst polluter.
Citarum River is the third largest river in Java behind Bengawan Solo and Brantas. The 300 km-long river flows from Bandung Regency to Karawang Regency in West Java. It was once a beautiful, pristine river that helped civilizations thrive since 4th century and earlier.
The river is best known for its connection with Tarumanegara Kingdom, a Sundanese indianised kingdom that thrived from 4th to 7th century. The kingdom and the river shared the same name, Tarum, which was derived from an indigo plant (Tarum in Sundanese) that flourished around the area.
In recent times, the river provides electricity generation for Bandung regions and Greater Jakarta. The energy comes from operational hydroelectric power stations along the river’s length. Not just electrical power, there are also dams that supply irrigation water to rice paddies, such as Jatiluhur Dam.
When you first arrive at Citarum, the awful, foul stench is going to strike your nose. Now usually, when you smell something horrendous, then there’s a problem going on. And that is exactly what happens here. After the stench, you’re not going to see a river. It’s concealed by unimaginable amount of trash and waste floating on it. And if you do see the river, you’ll see dark green/blue or red-colored river.
If you decide to gather your courage and cross the river with a boat, be prepared. You’ll be crossing a lot of household waste like detergent, cooking materials, glass bottles, clothings, broken toys, sandals, shoes, as well as plastic waste (straws, plastic bags, plastic bottles, the usual).
The river’s biodiversity also suffers from this pollution. Before, Citarum has many fish species such as walking catfish, suckermouth catfish, common carp, minnows, and many more. However, the polluted water caused the growth of wild water plants, mudskipper fish, and plankton. The fish population decreases rapidly ever since.
A 2008 research found only 20 species of fish left in Jatiluhur Dam. Before, there were recorded 34 species of fish. Now there isn’t even any records about the biodiversity of the river, and one fish species is reportedly missing from the dam.
Mostly, the result of this pollution is because of the lack of proper waste management and education. There is also no support from the government nor there is strict law regarding this matter. Fortunately, there are efforts to save the river.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed to provide Indonesia a $500million for a wide-range cleanup and rehabilitation plan for the Citarum River basin. This cleanup plan is important because as mentioned before, Citarum connects to Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, which gets around 80% of its water supply from the river.
A military chief from Siliwangi will deploy 22 colonels and 5,000 troops to work on the once-pristine waterway. He also plans to install CCTV video surveillance units along its banks.
“Contamination with hazardous and toxic waste is dangerous. The mercury contamination level in the river has been above normal. We need a centralized command. I hope the West Java governor would coordinate all related parties so that we could work together for the sake of Citarum River,” said the military chief, Major-General Doni Monardo.
President Joko Widodo plans to issue new regulations to speed up prosecution. In a recent Facebook post, the president stated, “Starting mid-January, we will fix Citarum river from upstream to downstream. Damaged forest at the upstream area will be replanted with trees as green belts. And we will comb the areas along the river and take action against companies that dispose waste to the river.”
year the world, produces 300 million tonnes of plastics, and 8.8 million tonnes of these are dumped into the oceans. That’s about 40 billion plastic bottles, 100 billion single-use plastic bags, and 522 million personal care items.
you know a seriously polluted river, or one that should be a candidate on a
bigger list, please contact Cleaner
rivers noted, added to hundreds of other lesser contributors feed the five
North Atlantic Gyre
South Atlantic Gyre
Indian Ocean Gyre
North Pacific Gyre
South Pacific Gyre
2010 - Global map with each country shaded according to the estimated mass of mismanaged plastic waste [millions ofmetric tons (MT)] generated in 2010 by populations living within 50 km of the coast. 192 countries were considered. Countries not included in the study are shaded white.