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The World’s Most Polluted Rivers



The world’s rivers and the communities that depend on them for food, water, and livelihoods are getting dirtier. A report from the United Nations Environment Programmed (UNEP) released on Tuesday revealed that more than 15% of all rivers in 30 countries suffer from pollution levels greater than those considered safe by scientists. That’s more than double the amount recorded just three years ago and up from 7% in 2005. The UNEP report comes as no surprise for many people living near these polluted waterways, who have been reporting illnesses for years because of toxic runoff from factories and farms upstream. But it also represents another setback in efforts to protect our planet’s most critical natural resource: water.”

Citarum River, Indonesia

The Citarum River is the most polluted in the world. It’s contaminated by industrial waste, sewage, and trash, which is caused by mining, paper mills, and tanneries along its banks. The river is used for drinking water as well as irrigation for crops such as rice fields.

Ganges And Yamuna Rivers, India

  • The Ganges and Yamuna Rivers are sacred to Hindus, who believe them to be the life force of the universe.
  • They are among the most polluted rivers in India.

Jordan River, Middle East

The Jordan River is the second longest river in the Middle East, making up about half of its total length. It runs through several countries and empties into the Dead Sea at its southernmost tip. While it doesn’t have many natural sources of pollution, there are still some concerns about how much pollution the river can handle.

The Jordan River provides drinking water for millions of people and has been used as a source for irrigation since biblical times (1 Kings 4:32). However, recent studies show that this source may be too polluted for humans to use as a daily supply.

Daldykan River, Russia

The Daldykan River is a tributary of the Ob River in Russia. It flows through the Khanty Mansi Autonomous Okrug, one of the largest autonomous okrugs in Russia, which has an area of approximately 1.3 million km2 and over 30 million inhabitants.

The Daldykan River is polluted with cadmium, mercury, and other toxic metals due to industrial runoff from mining towns located along its banks. Fishing is also conducted on this river as well as farming activities such as potato growing and rearing livestock such as cows or sheep for wool production.

Buriganga River, Bangladesh

The Buriganga River is the main river of Bangladesh, and it’s heavily polluted by industrial waste. It also gets polluted by raw sewage and garbage. The Buriganga River runs through Dhaka City (formerly known as Dacca), which has a population of about 15 million people.

The pollution problem has gotten so bad that the government has instituted several measures to improve water quality in this area: They’ve banned certain types of solid waste from being dumped into rivers (including plastic bags).

Lake Karachay, Russia

Lake Karachay is a lake located in southern Russia. It was used as a dumping ground for nuclear waste, and it is the most radioactive body of water on earth.

The lake has extremely high levels of radium and other pollutants in its waters because of all the nuclear testing that took place there over many years. The amount of radiation found in Lake Karachay has been so high that it cannot be safely consumed by humans; even small amounts can cause serious health problems or death if ingested or inhaled through direct contact with skin or eyes without proper protection such as gloves or masks (1).

Guanabara Bay, Brazil

Guanabara Bay is the largest bay in Brazil and one of the most polluted bodies of water on Earth. The bay is located on the Atlantic coast, where it receives rainwater from neighboring mountains. It’s also home to numerous industrial plants, which have been dumping waste into its waters for decades. This has caused a serious increase in pollutants like mercury and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).

Cuyahoga River In Ohio, United States

The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio is a hotbed of pollution. It was once so polluted that it caught fire and dumped raw sewage into the river for years. The incident led to national environmental disasters and spurred legislation that brought stricter regulations on industrial waste discharges.

La Oroya In Peru

La Oroya is a small mining town in south-central Peru that was once home to a large silver mine. Located at the headwaters of the Oroya River, it’s now contaminated with heavy metals and other toxic substances from mining activities over the past century. According to one study, over 70% of all water samples taken from La Oroya contain lead at concentrations above health standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System In The Philippines

The Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System in the Philippines is polluted with industrial waste. It is contaminated with lead, zinc, cadmium, and arsenic. The pollution has been caused by mining and manufacturing industries that have operated on the banks of this river for decades without any regard for human health or the environment.

The people living along this river have suffered from increasing levels of illness due to exposure to contaminated water sources some even have died as a result! The river itself also provides potable drinking water for hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who rely on it regularly for their livelihoods.

Yellow River In China

The Yellow River is a river in China and the second longest in the country, after the Huanghe (Yellow). It runs through 14 provinces and cities and empties into the Bohai Sea.

The river has been polluted by industrial waste, farming, and mining over many years of development. This pollution has caused it to turn an unhealthy yellow color, which can be seen throughout its length.


The world is facing a water crisis. Rivers around the world are getting dirtier and more polluted, but we don’t have to accept this reality. Cleaning up our rivers will not only help improve the health of people living near them but also provide us with a cleaner drinking water supply. We can all do our part by ensuring that we take measures to reduce our carbon footprint and use less water in every part of our lives