World Rivers Day 2018: A glance at the most hazardous rivers in the world

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 29 September 2018, 11:05 AM

World Rivers Day 2018 falls on September 30 this year. Every year, the World Rivers Day is observed on the last Sunday of September to "celebrate the world's waterways". World Rivers Day "highlights the many values of rivers and strives to increase public awareness and encourages the improved stewardship of rivers around the world". Unfortunately, due to reasons such as heavy industrialisation, lack of public awareness, and weak government policies that failed to check pollution of rivers, water bodies in many parts of the world today face dangerous situation.

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Here is a look at the five most hazardous rivers in the world:

  1. River Ganges, India: For a country where rivers are worshipped, India has some of the most polluted rivers in the world. And ironically, the most polluted are also considered the holiest. The Ganges or Ganga which originates at the Gangotri glacier in the western Himalayas and flows through the Gangetic plain of North India and then enters Bangladesh, where it meets the Bay of Bengal, was ranked as one of the five most polluted river in the world in 2007. This pollution also has a lot to do with religious matters such as immersion of idols and other religious offerings made every day. The pollutants also range from toxic industrial waste to sewage to plastics, washing of clothes, etc. 
  2. Yamuna River, India: Yet another holy river that is highly polluted, the Yamuna originates from the Yamunotri glacier in the Lower Himalayas and is the largest tributary of the Ganges. Every day, millions of tons of household garbage is discharged into the river and traces of poisonous insecticides have also been found in the Yamuna. Extreme urbanisation and soil erosion are also serious causes of pollution in the Yamuna.
  3. Citarum River, Indonesia: Citarum river of Indonesia is so polluted that tracing the surface of the river has also become impossible. Flowing through the Indonesian province of West Java, the Citarum river was an important resource in agriculture, water supply, industry, fishery, and production of electricity. However, this isn’t the case anymore, all sorts of pollutants such as plastic bottles, tires, rubber gloves, broken household furniture, sewage, harmful chemicals are pollution the river more than ever. And according to recent reports, the mercury level in the river is 100 times more than the legal amount making life near it almost impossible to survive.
  4. Yangtze River, China: As one of the fastest growing industrialized countries, China’s rivers has a list of their own pollution. And the Yangtze River definitely is one among them. According to WWF, the Yangtze River over the last 50 years has seen an increase in the pollution with a staggering 73% levels from hundreds of cities in the main stem. The annual discharge of sewage and industrial waste in the river has reached about 25 billion tons, which is 42% of the country’s total sewage discharge, and 45% of its total industrial discharge. With the constant disposing of pollutants such as suspended substances, oxidizing organic, inorganic compounds, and ammonia nitrogen. This increase according to many studies has a lot to do with the river rivalling the impact of the Three Gorges Dam. This basin faces unprecedented pollution as a result of rapid, large-scale industrial and domestic development, and agricultural runoff. The Chinese government has expressed tremendous concern over this river which is proving a life-threatening water resource to the health of humans and the other rare species such as the Yangtze River dolphin.
  5. Mississippi River, USA: Once considered the cardinal river of North America's because of its great natural and economic resource the Mississippi river has become a dumping ground for industrial toxins. Tons of chemicals such as nitrates, benzene, and arsenic are dumped into the river every year. Today, the region that surrounds the mouth of the Mississippi is considered a danger zone because of the harmful algae growing in the polluted river absorbing all the oxygen. The lack of oxygen of late has proven difficult for other living organism to survive.

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First Published: Saturday, September 29, 2018 10:39 AM
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