Citarum River, Indonesia
Site Name: Citarum River, Indonesia
Pollutant: Numerous chemicals including lead, cadmium, chromium, and pesticides
Population Affected: 500,000+ people directly, up to 5 million people indirectly
The Citarum River in Indonesia is currently considered one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Local residents and factories dump large amounts of industrial and household waste directly into the river on a daily basis. It is estimated that over half of the city’s waste goes directly into the river, untreated, including a number of chemicals such as lead, cadmium, chromium, and pesticides from industry. The river provides as much as 80% of household water for Jakarta’s 14 million residents, irrigates farms that supply 5% of Indonesia’s rice, and is a source of water for upwards of 2,000 factories. Direct exposure, such as ingesting untreated or simply boiled water from the river also effects a significant population. Nearly half a million residents are directly ingesting water with lead concentrations that have tested at 25,000 times the recommended level.