Active industrialization leads to pollution of water reservoirs. At some point, most countries come to the conclusion that water should be conserved. For this purpose, state regulation and control of industrial effluents, fines for non-compliance have been introduced. Unfortunately, many factors influence whether or not these requirements will be met. The most problematic sites are rivers, as they are, in fact, the carriers of drinking water.
Most rivers tend to self-heal if the pollution is stopped. These processes are long enough and can take decades. There are technologies that can intensify the processes of self-recovery, but the cost of their implementation is quite high, so not all countries can afford it.
The bottom line is that we have many rivers that continue to be polluted and are a serious environmental threat.
Many people say that the Ganges is the dirtiest river in the world, but in fact, there are even dirtier bodies of water. We’re going to write about them today.
Citarium River (Indonesia)
It is the dirtiest river in the world according to all existing sources. There are more than five hundred factories around this river that dump effluent into it. It’s also polluted with plastic and other trash that just floats on the surface of the water. Environmentalists estimate that about 20 tons of trash is dumped into the water each day, and about 240 tons of sewage, which resulted in the elimination of 60% of fish species. In many places, the water surface simply cannot be seen because of the trash.
Mercury levels in this river are 100 times the permissible concentration, and lead is elevated more than 1,000 times.
Yamuna River (India)
Approximately 3.5 million tons of sewage flows into the river every day without any treatment. The level of pollution in the river is so high that there are no fish and plants in it at all. Thus the river, which is still famous for its Hindu rituals and feeds 60 million people, is dead.
This river actually flows into the Ganges which also happens to be on this list, but has cleaner waters.
The Sarno River (Italy)
This river is only 15 kilometers long. It starts on Mount Sarno and ends in the Neapolis creek. This river is the dirtiest in Europe due to runoff from tanneries and agriculture. Today it continues to be used for irrigation and some technological needs.
Ganges River (India)
It is one of the longest and most full-flowing rivers in Asia and is located in one of the most densely populated regions of the world. But it’s also one of the dirtiest rivers in the world.
On the internet you can often see photos and videos of remains floating on the surface of the water or nestled on the shore. In fact, this has not happened in India for a long time now, as the possibility has been strictly limited by law. But there are less visible and more frightening pollutants. These are industrial and domestic wastewater that is discharged into the river, both in India and in Bangladesh.
The Indian authorities developed a plan to restore the Ganges back in 1985, and it included large sewage treatment plants, but today they simply cannot keep up with the increasing speed of population and industry.
The Ganges: India’s Most Polluted Holy River | Rivers And Life | TRACKS
It is strictly forbidden to drink water from the Ganges, as it contains many pathogenic microorganisms, including schistosomes, enterobacteria, and even cholera and shigellosis pathogens. Yet some 700 million people continue to bathe in it. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.5 million people die each year in India from waterborne diseases. children and 30-40 percent of these deaths are the result of bathing in the Ganges.
Matanza-Riajuelo River (Argentina)
Some sources refer to the river as two different bodies of water, but it is actually one river, called the Riahuelo at the source and the Matanza further downstream. The river is 64 kilometers long.
The cause of pollution in the river has traditionally been human error – industry and domestic sewage. There are about 3.5 million people living on the banks of the river. There are many industries on the banks of the river, including many tanneries. Major pollutants include heavy metals and runoff from groundwater.
In 1993 funds were allocated to rehabilitate the river, but only the hulls of sunken ships were partially removed from the bottom, there was not enough money for the main work as it had been stolen by officials, after this the issue was raised in 2006, but no action has actually taken place so far.
Buriganga River, Bangladesh
It is one of the branches that connect the Brahmaputra and the Ganges. The river is on the list of the world’s dirtiest waters, with 1.5 million tpd discharged daily. only industrial waste, but also domestic sewage, animal carcasses, plastic and medical waste.
Nearly 4,500 tonnes of potable water are dumped in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Solid waste and 21,000 cubic metres of wastewater from tanneries. Most plants have no wastewater treatment facilities at all.
And the river is the main source of drinking water and the main transportation artery of the country.
Marilao River (Philippines)
This river is also polluted by domestic sewage and industry. For example, thanks to a battery recycling plant located in a river basin, lead levels are 3,800 times higher (190, while the norm is 0.95 mg/l).
The international organization Greenpeace is actively working on the river, but the Philippine authorities do not pay much attention to the state of the water so far. There’s virtually no oxygen in the water, so the river is virtually dead.
Huanghe or Yellow River (China)
The second longest river in China after the Yangtze. And the sixth longest river in the world at 5,464 kilometers. There are many industrial plants in its basin, and a lot of domestic sewage is also discharged into it.
The water of the Yellow River was declared unsuitable not only for drinking, but even for industry and irrigation in 2007. Of the 4.39 billion. tonnes of effluent 70% was industrial. Many provinces simply dumped water without treatment, as in a large sewer.
It’s worth noting that China is the kind of country that really does a lot to ensure that the river is cleaned up. And in the past ten years, the water quality has improved greatly. The development of industrial enterprises was moved to an area far from the river and heavy fines were imposed on the existing enterprises to stop discharging untreated wastewater. The most recent oil spill accident happened in 2014.
Pasayic River (USA)
It flows in the State of New Jersey in the United States. This river is the dirtiest in the United States. It was polluted back in the 19th and 20th century during the great industrialization. Since 1972, the process of restoring the river has begun. Its pollutants are mostly dioxins which have been introduced by refineries. Particularly during the Vietnam War in the production of Agent Orange, which was used to destroy rainforests in Vietnam.
Today, the State of New Jersey has banned commercial fishing in the Passaic River, and it is publicly discouraged from self-catching.
Preparations are well under way to clean up the riverbed in the most problematic areas. But a decision has not yet been made on how the river will be cleaned up.
This is not the whole list of dirty rivers. The good news is that all of them still have a chance to recover and there are numerous examples of cleaning dirty rivers, but not all countries are taking steps in this direction.