Top 10 Most Polluted Places on the Planet


NOVEMBER 5, 2013


Environmental activists take part in a protest against the pollution of the Citarum river in Bandung on September 28, 2012.


Labelled "the most-polluted river in the world" by a local commission of government agencies and NGOs charged with its clean-up, Citarum river provides 80 percent of the surface water to Jakarta’s water supply authority, irrigates farms that supply 5 percent of Indonesia’s rice, and is a source of water for upwards of 2,000 factories.


The pollution of numerous chemicals including lead, cadmium, chromium, and pesticides affects about 500,000 people directly, and as many 5 million people indirectly.


In 2008, the Indonesian Government received a 500 million dollar loan from the Asian Development Bank as part of a 3.5 billion-dollar plan to rehabilitate the Citarum over 15 years. Environmental activists however find the clean-up progress slow.

A 2013 APN Science bulletin found that aluminum was at 97 ppb (the world average is 32 ppb); manganese in the river was at 195 ppb (world average: 34 ppb); and iron concentrations in the Citarum were 194 ppb (world average: 66 ppb), reported Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross.