But there are places that are especially shocking: first of all, it concerns rivers, from which we usually expect freshness and cleanliness. In this article, we give a sad list of the most polluted rivers on earth.
Mississippi, United States
The delta of the largest river in North America (and the 4th largest in the world), the greatest natural and economic resource of the United States are one of the most fertile agricultural zones in the world. Unfortunately, today the waters at the mouth of the Mississippi are increasingly referred to as “dead zones”: along the entire route from the north to the south of the country, the river overflows with toxic waste, such as nitrates, benzene and arsenic, wastewater, refined products, and just garbage. Due to the terrible pollution, the water at the mouth of the river is overgrown with algae, absorbing all the oxygen, and their dominance does not allow any other organisms to survive.
Known in ancient times as Sarnus, the Italian Sarno River today leads the ranking of the most polluted rivers in Europe. It originates on the slope of Mount Vesuvius, flows through Pompeii to Naples and flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea. For centuries, the Sarno River served as a waterway to the south of Italy, and today its importance in the region is quite large. It is a pity that most of the channel is polluted with colossal volumes of industrial and agricultural waste, which is dumped more and more into the water every year. The river carries its muddy waters into the Gulf of Naples, which in turn poses a threat to the marine environment.
The state of the river flowing in the Philippine province of Bulacan, not far from the metropolitan Metro Manila region, is so depressing that the concerned government is forced to take serious measures to cleanse it. In addition to traditional sources of pollution – toxic industrial waste, water is overflowing with household garbage. Tons of plastic bottles, bags, rubber slippers, and other non-decomposable objects overwhelm the river, and wastewaters make it a source of infection and an accumulation of pathogenic bacteria, so staying on the water without protective equipment is not strongly recommended.
Yellow River, China
The second largest river in Asia and the sixth in the world, the Yellow River (as its name translates) originates in the eastern part of the Tibetan Plateau, crosses the country and flows into the Bohai Gulf of the Yellow Sea. Territories along the river are considered to be the cradle of the formation of Chinese civilization. The Yellow River – the main source of drinking water – today suffers from catastrophic pollution and more than a third of it is no longer suitable for human use, even in agriculture. According to the UN report, about 4.29 thousand tons of industrial waste and sewage effluent fill the Yellow River every year. In the city of Lanzhou, the Yellow River suddenly turned red a few years ago due to the release of unknown chemicals.
When John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the waters of the Jordan, this legendary river was the pride of Israel. Today, “Baptism is forbidden because of pollution” hangs on the banks and its condition is rather a cause for shame: instead of transparent rapids with creeks and waterfalls, the Jordan, especially in the lower reaches, turned into a gutter. In 1964, the Israeli government built a dam that destroyed the river’s ecosystem. Now the water of Jordan is not only drained and full of garbage, but also stinks due to the huge amount of wastewater and agricultural waste.
Yamuna (Jamna), India
The largest tributary of the Ganges, flowing down from the Lower Himalayas, flows through several states of Northern India and forms a very fertile valley at the confluence of the Ganges. The waters of this light river are considered absolutely pure, but only in a spiritual sense. Now the situation with the real state of the river is critical, it is inferior in pollution (perhaps because it is smaller in size) only to the Ganges. Millions of tons of domestic garbage and wastewater are discharged into the Yamuna every day, and this monstrous process cannot be stopped. In addition, recently in the water find more and more very dangerous toxic substances.
The Buriganga River plays a huge role in the life of the country: it is an important transportation artery and, until recently, the main source of drinking water for the state’s capital, Dacca. But for some reason, the people of Bangladesh do not value their natural wealth: the water is extremely polluted with chemical and household waste, sewage, medical emissions, technical oil, plastic, animal corpses. The government is not yet able to stop the clogging of the river and every day about 1.5 million cubic meters of harmful substances get into it. The river is recognized as biologically dead, but residents of the capital bathe in it and wash clothes.
Matanza Riachuelo, Argentina
This river flows through the capital of Argentina, the city of Buenos Aires, filling the air with an unpleasant smell. Millions of tons of wastewater are discharged into it every day along with a huge amount of household waste. Oil refineries do not stop to dispose of chemical waste with the help of the long-suffering Matanza. Pollution does not stop, despite speeches by environmentalists and government organizations.
The Hindu sacred river takes its source in a glacier in the western Himalayas, crosses North India, flows through Bangladesh and flows into the Bay of Bengal. In 2007, the Ganges was recognized as one of the five most polluted rivers in the world. They spoil the sacred river and industrial waste, and plastic, and sewage, and numerous ritual offerings, and even corpses. But for Hindus, the Ganges is the mother, and the mother cannot be dirty, so they are honored to wash in “holy water”, wash clothes, prepare food on its banks, and sometimes send the dead downstream. According to a recent study conducted by the Indian Medical Research Council (ICMR), the Ganges is so full of toxic substances that people living on its banks began to suffer from cancer more than in any other parts of the country.
The Chitarum River, which flows through West Java, is of paramount importance in the island’s agriculture, its water supply, industry, fishing, and the production of electricity. At the same time, the river is on the verge of ecological disaster. It is full of household and industrial waste. In some places, there is so much debris on the surface that it is difficult to discern that the river is generally flowing here. Plastic bottles, tires, rubber gloves, broken furniture, wastewater, harmful chemicals, heavy metals, and much more is taken by the Chitarum River. The level of mercury in water is 100 times higher than acceptable. The river is on the verge of death, and what will happen to the people living on its banks?