At a recent conference someone said "If you're looking to go on hydrologic tourism, you shouldn't miss the most polluted river in the world." I thought, it may be dirty, but surely there's some dribble of uranium coming out of an abandoned mine that's worse. It can't be so bad that it would cause instant death to anyone coming near the banks? Did it catch on fire like some other rivers?
|Cuyahoga River catching fire, 1952|
Well, there have been some awful things done to rivers. The Citarum River was a floating mat of waste. You would guess there was water by the boats of people floating through it. Washing their children and restaurants' dishes in it, it provides 80% of the water for 14 million people.
The government got a loan for $500 million in 2008 to fix the river up so it may be less of an issue now.
It may or may not be the most polluted river now, but Indonesia is a hub of activity for hydrology in the Pacific, home of the World Meteorological Organization's regional office for Asia.