Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dirtiest River on Earth

 The Citarum River
 
Once upon a time, the Citarum River was rich in fish and wildlife. Local villagers caught fish and used river water to irrigate rice paddies and vegetable plots.  They bathed, cooked and drank the river water.

In the 1980s, textile factories started operations. Now, more than 500 factories line the banks of the 200-mile river, many of them leaking chemicals into the water.

Polluted Beyond Belief

The Citarum River in West Java in Indonesia is a living (or dying) example of how much damage humans seem to be willing to cause to their environment.
 
 Beneath the Trash is the Citarum River

The river remains as the sole source of both drinking and irrigation water for millions of people, including those living along the river. There are three hydroelectric power plants with dams along this river. The river is also a garbage dump, sewer system and industrial waste disposal facility for the region.



Villager in boat collects recyclable items from Citarum River  
(AP Photo/Kusumadireza)

Today the Citarum River has the reputation of being one of the most polluted river in the world!  Villagers who can no longer catch fish in it, pick through the pollution that carpets it, to try to earn a living by recycling materials pulled from the river.

This is what happens when nine million people throw their trash and corporations dump hazardous waste in a river.  The Citarum River in West Java.  Indonesia is choked with plastic, loaded with chemicals and human waste.



Dead fish, poisoned by mercury, unable to survive in the polluted water.

The water from Citarum River is treated for human consumption in the larger town and cities. In small villages, they may wrap a towel or sock around the waterspout. The villagers use this water to bathe, wash and cook. Luckily, the villagers will boil the water before drinking it. Boiling will take care of bacteria, but boiling is useless against heavy metals and toxic chemicals.

River Clean Up Possible

In December 2008, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) granted a US$500 million loan to the government for clean-up operations. Over a 15-year period, the ADB money should allow the government to rehabilitate the entire river basin.

However, the People’s Alliance for Citarum (ARUM), an NGO, is concerned about corruption in the allocation of the ABD funding, and the project’s effectiveness.As well they should be concerned: Java is known for its corruption.
 
Until consensus on how the money will be spent is reached, the river of garbage will continue to flow and the people will continue to suffer the consequences.



1 comment:

kosport said...

My God!
Terrible!

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