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


Site Description:

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.

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Environmental Reports


Since 2007, the yearly environmental toxin reports published by Green Cross Switzerland and the Blacksmith Institute have been instrumental in increasing public understanding of the health impacts of toxic pollutants and their sources.


The Environmental Toxin Report 2012 describes known environmental toxins and points to their industrial applications and most frequent health effects. In addition, the Report identifies the ten most important sources of environmental toxins and quantifies, for the first time, the global scale of health damage due to toxic substances. It also shows that the health impacts of industrial pollutants measured are roughly equal to those of the three major global infectious diseases AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.


The Environmental Toxin Report 2011 is based on the estimated number of people affected by the sources of pollution, as well as the number of locations, identified worldwide, where environmental toxins occur in concentrations that are detrimental to health. Reports on the ten most dangerous sources of environmental toxins and the worst pollution problems were issued in the years 2008 and 2010. The environmental report published in 2009 contains case studies concerning successful remediation projects.

Donor account Green Cross Switzerland: PC 80-576-7 IBAN CH02 0900 0000 8000 0576 7