TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Blacksmith Institute, a non-profit organization based in New York, and Green Cross, Switzerland, stated that the Citarum River in West Java is one of the ten most polluted rivers in the world in 2013. The river made it to the list because of industrial waste and chemical pollution.
Blacksmith's report mentioned that more than 500 thousand people are directly affected by the pollution at Citarum River. Meanwhile, more than 5 million people are indirectly affected because of the chemical pollutant thrown to the river and carried away by the stream. The river contains a level of lead, aluminum, manganese and iron that, on several occasions, are higher than the average level. The source of pollution was originated from the industrial and domestic activities around the river.
Citarum River is listed along with the most polluted and toxic locations in the world, including Chernobyl, a city in Ukraine currently contaminated with radiation that resulted from the explosion of a nuclear reactor in 1986.
"This year's report features the most polluted places that we could find. But most importantly, the problem is much bigger than just those ten locations, said the President of Blacksmith Institute Richard Fuller as quoted by LiveScience, Wednesday, November 6.
"We estimated more than 200 million people's health are now threatened because of the pollution in developing countries," he said.
Chairman of the Indonesia Green Institute Chalid Muhammad, asserted that the severity of Citarum River pollution is caused by factories that dispose their waste to the river.
"Moreover, a lot of domestic waste also flows into the river, and the conversion of riverbanks into residential area resulted in erosion and shallowing," Chalid said on Thursday, 7 November 2013.
According to Chalid, most of the rivers in Indonesia are currently facing a crisis.
"Severe pollution doesn't just happen in Citarum. In 1998, there were 59 out of 89 river basins that were known to be in critical condition," he said.