Home InfoNature The Dirtiest Rivers In The World

The Dirtiest Rivers In The World

by Anastasia

Credits: Photos by Rommelt69 on Flickr
Credits: Photos by Manoi on Flickr
Credits: Photos by Manoi on Flickr
Credits: Photos by Barsvd on Flickr

Ganges river, India

More than 400 million people live along the Ganges River. An estimated 2,000,000 persons ritually bathe daily in the river, which is considered holy by Hindus. Being holy or not, but the river definitely not safe for people. It is filled with chemical wastes, sewage and even the remains of human and animal corpses which carry major health risks by either direct bathing in the dirty water or by drinking it.

Credits: Photos by Mike Wright on Flickr
Credits: Photos by Pjwar on Flickr
Credits: Photos by Sailing Aqua Blue on Flickr
Credits: Photos by Perfectdayjosep on Flickr
Credits: Photos by Aali_cam on Flickr

Citarum river, Indonesia

I have never seen the pics of the river more dirty than Citarum. Frankly speaking I can’t even call it the river in the usual sense, but rather the river of rubbish. Quick industrial development over the last years resulted in the rise of untreated sewage, solid waste and industrial effluents. Nowadays you can see former fishers collecting plastic waste in the river for recycling, this is at least some way to get some money and still poor families use the river for bathing and laundry. In December of 2008, the Asian Development Bank approved a $500 million loan for cleaning up the river, the loan package will be delivered over the next 15 years.

Credits: Photos by www.revbilly.com
Credits: Photos by www.guardian.co.uk
Credits: Photos by www.ecologicliving.ca

Yellow River, China

The Yellow River, with a total length of 5464 kilometers, is the second longest river in China, just next to the Yangtze River. It’s the main water supply for millions of people in northern China and it’s been officially stated that it’s heavily polluted by industrial waste and is unsafe for anyone to use. The discharge from factories has increased in recent years and water levels have dropped due to industrial and residential growth.

Credits: Photos by Distantpeak on Flickr
Credits: Photos by Distantpeak on Flickr
Credits: Photos by Distantpeak on Flickr
Credits: Photos by BingBoGraph on Flickr
Credits: Photos by Variarts.china on Flickr

Riachuelo river, Argentina

The river which is 64 km long and which flows across 4 Buenos Aires municipalities is being polluted by over 3,500 factories operating on its banks, this is not taking into account numerous illegal sewage pipes running directly into the river.

The 64-km Matanza-Riachuelo River runs from western Buenos Aires into the Río de la Plata estuary, cutting across 14 Buenos Aires municipalities. According to official data of the previous years, about 35 percent of residents in the area have no access to potable water and 55 percent lack sewers. A report from the country’s ombudsman’s office described most of the pollution dumped in the river as untreated organic waste. We know what to expect next, if no steps are taken the river will become dead shortly. Thanks God, the government of Argentina has unveiled a comprehensive clean-up project and I truly hope that’ll work

Credits: Photos by Puroticorico on Flickr
Credits: Photos by Carlosar2000 on Flickr

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Pass July 3, 2009 - 5:13 pm

Great post.

Gdirectory July 3, 2009 - 6:27 pm

Nice article, but i would have love if there was order like which one is the worst, for me the worst is of Indonesia.

Jon Winthorp July 3, 2009 - 7:10 pm

This is pretty sad to see. We should take better care of our mother earth. Thanks for bringing this to light with this post.

Glenn July 3, 2009 - 10:42 pm

Sorry, The Mississippi River shouldn’t be included in this list. The pdf linked to is propaganda published by eviro-wackos to maintain their federal funding. It has a good concentration of mud and silt (same as in Mark Twain’s day) but the chemical pollution isn’t nearly what the hysterical leeches claim. I drink New Orleans tap water regularly, it is rated among the highest quality urban water supplies in the world. It’s just the way things are in the U.S. for SOME people. They have to play chicken little to make a living, and it discredits their entire profession.

mel July 5, 2009 - 2:29 am

iw philippines

Liz July 5, 2009 - 11:42 pm

Some of the rivers shown here are shockingly dirty! It’s a pity that too many people don’t value our planet and just won’t stop until it’s too late. Also I’d like to add Amur in Russia to the list, because it’s practically gurgling with chemicals (many of which come from China).

Some Of the Dirtiest Rivers of the World…eew… « Hanna's rED-WINe cup February 3, 2010 - 4:26 am

[…] The Buriganga River is the main river flowing beside Dhaka city, capital of Bangladesh. The biological dead river owns its plight to the 80% is untreated directly flowing into the river and polythenes deposited beneath water. [Link] […]

daquon harris April 21, 2010 - 8:40 am

this is nasty so people need to clean this before somebody die because this water is so dirty

Noll May 31, 2010 - 11:29 pm

The Mississippi River is far from clean. I live in Memphis TN on river front property called Harbor Town. It is a very nice place however some nights it smells like a sewage treatment plant. There are always random things washing up along with garbage that has traveled only god knows where. There are signs posted everywhere stating “DO NOT EAT FISH FROM THESE WATERS. MERCURY LEVELS EXCEED SAFETY STANDARDS.”

gloria gordon July 27, 2010 - 9:45 pm

Shame on the leadership or the lack there of .
how could they not care of the only great source of life there is

gloria gordon July 27, 2010 - 9:47 pm

I am speechless

Anne August 10, 2010 - 5:13 am

definitely dirty!

sss November 4, 2010 - 11:23 pm

the world dirtiest river is gangga in india, you know…

Johan van Dijkhorst November 12, 2010 - 5:21 am

Education = Birth controle!! Our world is over poulated and cannot support so many people and yet the un educated want rino horn. We all can make a difference.

Maureen Slater January 1, 2011 - 11:43 am

The human race has had the chop. How did this happen? The saddest thing. I will become a tree-hugger.

Rachel Kim October 10, 2011 - 7:25 pm

They should clean the water…. they should be grateful that God made un this land.

Lee Hoyle December 1, 2011 - 3:50 am

Citadel River is the dirtiest river. Look it up!

TWIN BROS February 5, 2012 - 6:41 am

Wou !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is shocking.Two Twin Bros Writers are soon coming up with their comments.

sunil February 13, 2012 - 9:00 am

dont u know about the moosi river in india

Joshua Villaluna April 19, 2012 - 10:49 pm

Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog Pasig (Holding Together for Pasig River) – an advocacy to clean and rehabilitate the Pasig river in the Philippines. Kapit Bisig Para Sa Ilog Pasig will look to hurdle these obstacles with the most comprehensive effort to clean the Pasig River. Under the guidance of the ABS CBN Foundation and its key programs – Bantay Kalikasan, Bantay Bata and Educational TV – the thrust will be a multi-aspect, multi-faceted approach to clean the river and keep it clean. Collaborating with key Philippine government agencies*, Kapit Bisig Para Sa Ilog Pasig has charted a seven-year campaign to tackle the pollution, help relocate informal settlers, provide livelihood opportunities and launch a major information movement. The hope is to revive a river and resuscitate a nation which had not seen the glory of the Pasig in over half a century.

everyman June 23, 2012 - 11:39 am

Wouldn’t it be better for mankind to die-off before the whole planet’s like that..?

Mahesh Babu December 11, 2012 - 8:03 am


We have bio-remediation to clean these waters of chemical and oil pollution but debris need to be removed physically. Major problem is funding as no govt is willing to spend but if people of the area or philanthropic or environmentalist com forward, we can do wonders cleaning these rivers and make it rehabitable. Our proven technology reduces most of the toxic material.

If any one interested, pls revert back to us for more information.

Mahesh BABU


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