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What Are the 16 Most Polluted Rivers in the World?

Environmental issues are a major interest of Kelley's, especially pollution, climate change, deforestation and endangered species.

One of the earth's most polluted rivers

One of the earth's most polluted rivers

The Most Polluted Rivers in the World

The solution to pollution is dilution. This has been the mantra of people who would like to think water pollution can be avoided simply by adding enough water to the muck. The trouble is, there are too many people and too many factories in the world and not enough fresh water. In fact, one of the world’s biggest problems is a lack of clean drinking water.

Then again, these rivers could simply be cleaned up.

The following article lists the ten most polluted rivers in the world. It may not include the worst—who’s to say? But all of these waterways are objectionably dirty: Some of which are so incredibly filthy you have to wonder why anybody would even go near them, much less drink from them. Yet people do so, as they must, because they have little or no choice. Please keep reading!

Neva River

Neva River

16. Neva River

Flowing into the Baltic Sea near the city of St. Petersburg in northeastern Russian, the Neva River, though only 46 miles in length, is considered an extremely polluted river according to the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring of Russia. Located in a heavily populated area with many industries, the river is polluted by raw sewage and industrial effluent amounting to 80,000 tons per year. Oil spills are also common along this river, which, 2008, the Federal Service of St. Petersburg announced was unfit for swimming along its entire length.

Nevertheless, some pollution cleanup is taking place on the Neva River. The cleaning of waste water began in St. Petersburg in 1979, particularly regarding the discharge of raw sewage into the river, the level of which was supposed to be stopped completely by 2011. But as recently as May 2018, the Murzinka River, a major tributary of the Neva River, is still so polluted it often changes color to red or other colors.

Yamuna River

Yamuna River

15. Yamuna River

As with many sacred rivers in India, the Yamuna River has a promise: bathing in its waters frees one from the torments of death. But in certain places you may think twice about getting near it. At the river’s source in the Himalayas, its water is clear blue, though as the river flows through heavily populated stretches on the Indo-Gangetic Plain the water becomes exceedingly polluted with sewage, municipal waste and agricultural run-off. The water is especially bad near the capital of India, New Delhi, which dumps most of its waste, including millions of liters of raw sewage, into the poor Yamuna on a daily basis. At this point, the Yamuna is essentially a running cesspool.

The Indian government is trying to clean up the Yamuna River, but its water remains stagnant for nine months of the year, reducing the flow of toxins to the Indian Ocean, creating a situation that will be very hard to fix. One of many plans to clean up India’s rivers, the Yamuna Action Plan, a joint venture with Japan and initiated in 1993, is designed to improve water quality of the river by 90 per cent. But this hasn’t happened to date and the goal remains little more than a pipe dream.

Yangtze River

Yangtze River

14. Yangtze River

Its headwaters located in northern Tibet, China’s Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world, suffers from many types of degradation: industrial and plastic pollution, agricultural run-off, siltation, untreated manure from pig farms, industrial effluent, and sewage from municipal sources. In fact, in 2012, because of pollution, the river turned red near Chongqing. According to The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch ecological organization, the Yangtze River dumps more plastic into the ocean than any other river.

The construction of the Three Gorges Dam on the river has greatly reduced biodiversity. Moreover, construction of dams, levees and diversions along the river has cut-off the outflow from numerous lakes, reducing their water quality. But since 2002 a program has been in place to reconnect these lakes to the Yangtze, increasing the flow of water throughout the Yangtze watershed, thereby reducing at least some of its water pollution.

River Tame

River Tame

13. River Tame

Located in the West Midlands of the United Kingdom, the River Tame is a pretty, slow-moving waterway that meanders through bucolic countryside in England. At a distance anyway, the river doesn’t appear to be degraded, but there’s contamination lurking in its murky depths. It has some of the worst micro plastic pollution in the world, according to a survey done in 2018. Toxic rain-wash from Coal-based industries around Birmingham and in the Black Country region, as well as various manufacturing operations, has damaged the river’s ecology too.

In recent decades, however, the river’s water has been passed through a series of purification lakes, a process that has cleansed the water enough so that aquatic life can survive in it. Once one of the filthiest rivers in the UK, the River Tame seems healthier today, though plastic pollution is still a major concern.

The Jordan River as it empties into the Dead Sea

The Jordan River as it empties into the Dead Sea

12. Jordan River

One of few sources of fresh water in a land that needs all the water it can get, the Jordan River flows from north to south through much of the Holy Land, countries such as Syria, Israel and Jordan and connects the Sea of Galilee, a fresh water lake, with the Dead Sea, a drying, salty terminal lake. Since most of the river’s water has been diverted for industrial, agricultural and municipal purposes, especially its lower 100 miles, what’s left of the water has succumbed to the flow of sewage, agricultural runoff and brackish water. Consequently, in 2007, the Friends of the Earth listed it as one of the 100 most polluted sites in the world.

The biggest problem with the Jordan River is that its water is quickly disappearing. Polluted or not, a river can’t survive without water, and since it’s the only source of water for the Dead Sea, that too is in danger of drying out entirely.

Worker unclogs the Tijuana River

Worker unclogs the Tijuana River

11. Tijuana River

Although the Tijuana River is only 120 miles long, generally not more than tens of feet wide, and at times carries little water, it’s almost certainly one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Flowing north through the Tijuana River Valley, where it swings by the growing city of Tijuana, Mexico (population 1.8 million), responsible for most of pollution, the river then crosses the Mexico/US border and debouches into the Pacific Ocean. As of 2015, when it rains, as much as 27 million US gallons of sewage is dumped every day into the Tijuana River. Toxic chemicals such as DDT, hexavalent chromium, benzene, lead and mercury can be found in the river too, as well as countless tons of tires and miscellaneous trash; and when the water dries up, the toxicity in the riverbed goes airborne for all in the area to breathe!

Will this running sewer and landfill ever be cleaned up? Between 2014 and 2016, over 400 tons of debris was removed from the river. Also, in 2020, per an agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada, $300 million dollars has been provided to abate the pollution in the Tijuana River, and at least some of this money will be allocated to the International Boundary Wastewater Treatment Plant, located in the South Bay area of San Diego, California.

Matanza-Riachuelo River

Matanza-Riachuelo River

10. Matanza-Riachuelo River

Located in the Buenos Aires Province of central-eastern Argentina, the Matanza-Riachuelo River (MRR) has been nicknamed the Slaughterhouse River, because many slaughterhouses and tanneries line its banks and, tragically, dump their effluent into the river, polluting this short waterway with various toxic chemicals, particularly heavy metals such as arsenic, chromium, mercury, zinc, lead and copper. Raw sewage and household garbage are also added to the mess.

In 1993, President Carlos Menem presented a project designed to spend $250 million to clean up the river, but only one million was spent to rid the river of industrial wastes. Tragically, much of this money was allocated to other projects and/or pilfered by politicians. Therefore, as of December 2013, the MRR remains one of the most polluted rivers on the planet.

Cuyahoga River

Cuyahoga River

9. Cuyahoga River

The Cuyahoga River is famous – or infamous – for having caught fire numerous times since 1868, most recently in June 1969. Flowing through the Cleveland, Ohio area, the Cuyahoga River, because it runs through a congested urban environment, has been subjected to numerous forms of pollution, particularly industrial waste, which has made it flammable at times. Interestingly, the plight of the Cuyahoga River helped promote in the late 1960s the ecological movement across the U.S., whose motto was “Ecology Now.” This joint fervor led to passage of the Clean Water Act of 1972.

Now 50 years after the Cuyahoga River caught fire, it seems unlikely it will do so again any time soon, since cleanup programs in Ohio have improved its water quality; now it supports more than 60 species of fish. Nevertheless, it remains one of 43 Great Lakes Areas of Concern, as it empties into Lake Erie, once a very dirty body of water as well, though it supports fisheries of note in the present day.

Buriganga River

Buriganga River

8. Buriganga River

Also known as the Old Ganges, the Buriganga River in Bangladesh, one of the world’s most densely populated countries, suffers from just about every type of pollution imaginable: chemical waste from textile mills and factories of all kinds, domestic garbage, rotting fruit and vegetables, medical waste, sewage, dead animals, plastics and petroleum. In fact, the city of Dhaka dumps 4,500 tons of solid waste into the river every day. The sewage dumped into the river is a major problem as well, as about 80 per cent of it is untreated.

These days, particularly near Dhaka, a city of 10 million people, the Buriganga River emits a foul smell and no aquatic life can survive in it. One way to clean up the river at least somewhat would be to increase its flow of water, but this option will be difficult since the glaciers of the Himalayas, which feed the river, are shrinking due to climate change. Of course, a better option would be to stop dumping garbage and various poisons into the river, although this option will be very costly.

Marilao River

Marilao River

7. Marilao River

The Marilao River flows through the Bulacan Province in the Philippines and eventually empties in Manila Bay. The river suffers from various forms of pollution from tanneries, textile factories, piggeries, gold refineries and municipal dumps. The high levels of toxic chemicals and heavy metals in the water are particularly worrisome, as they present a major health hazard. In fact, in places, the water in the Marilao River contains virtually no dissolved oxygen, negating aquatic life to a great degree. Therefore, the Marilao River is considered one of 50 dead rivers in the Philippines.

Fortunately for the people of the Philippines, Greenpeace has been studying the problem of water pollution in the Philippines and produced the report “Hidden Consequences,” which could at least focus attention on the problem and perhaps persuade the Philippine government to generate funds for clean-up of the Marilao and other filthy rivers in this Pacific archipelago.

Sarno River

Sarno River

6. Sarno River

In a continent where most if not all the rivers are polluted, the Sarno River in southern Italy, near Pompeii and Naples, iis widely considered the most polluted river in Europe. The upper reaches of the river near Mt. Sarno are nearly pristine, but the lower one travels in elevation, the more polluted the river becomes, until it’s covered by oily scum and chemical foam. Fouled by industrial and agricultural wastes and plenty of urban garbage, the Sarno River is considered the primary source for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Bay of Naples. Interestingly, PAHs are the greatest source of organic pollutants.

Encouragingly, Italy plans to clean up the Sarno and other rivers in the area. In fact, remedial dredging began on the Sarno River in the early 2000s, so perhaps at least some of the pollution will be mitigated, if not eliminated, in the coming years and decades.

Mississippi River near New Orleans

Mississippi River near New Orleans

5. Mississippi River

Pollution of rivers is also widespread in the United States. The mighty Mississippi River, also called the Big Muddy, because its waters are generally brown, mostly from sediments. But the Big Muddy holds much more than mud, for its level of pollutants is great. In fact, it is sometimes called the Colon of America. In addition to sewage, perhaps the worst pollutants in the river are agricultural in nature. At the mouth of the Mississippi in the Gulf of Mexico lies a so-called Dead Zone of 6,000 to 8,000 square miles. This has been created by the Mississippi’s high amount of nitrogen-based fertilizer run-off, which upsets the food chain, creating very low oxygen levels in coastal waters.

Green advocates hope to cleanse this impressive river by urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to include agricultural run-off - particularly nitrogen and phosphorus pollution - under protocols set by the Clean Water Act of 1972. But the federal government wants the states to act first, so we’ll see how this scenario unfolds.

Citarum River

Citarum River

4. Citarum River

The Citarum River, located in West Java, Indonesia, flows through a basin populated by millions of people using the river’s water for drinking, fishing, agriculture and industrial applications. The problem is, thousands of factories line the river and routinely dump their waste into it, turning the water various ugly colors. These factories are supposed to clean the water after they use it and dump it back into the river, but this process is rarely done and violators rarely prosecuted.

Shockingly, the Blacksmith Institute has declared that lead pollution in the Citarum River is 1,000 times the acceptable level as set by America's Environmental Protection Agency. Because of this ecological catastrophe, the Citarum River is considered by many to be the dirtiest river in the world.

In current times, the Asian Development Bank has loaned Indonesia $500 million over 15 years to help clean up the Citarum River. But, since so many people and industries use the Citarum’s water, cleansing it may remain more fantasy than reality, unless billions rather than millions are spent on clean-up.

The Doce River after the dams burst

The Doce River after the dams burst

3. Doce River

The Doce River, which means “sweet water,” runs through southeast Brazil for 853 kilometers, providing much needed fresh water for the largest steel making region in Latin America. Unfortunately, in November 2015, location Mariana, two containment dams ruptured, spilling 60 million cubic meters of iron ore sludge into the Doce River, killing at least 17 people and injuring scores of others. This sludge is so loaded with heavy metals that the aquatic life in this once sweet river has been destroyed and may never return to normal, devastating the lives of numerous fishermen. Many people use the river for drinking water as well; now they must drink bottled water for months, years, who knows how long.

BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining conglomerate, which built the aforementioned dams, has been sued by the government of Brazil for $5 billion. But who knows when or if the Doce River will ever be cleaned up after this ecological catastrophe, one of the worst in world history.

Yellow River

Yellow River

2. Yellow River

The condition of the Yellow River, whose water is filled with a yellow sediment known as loess, hence its name, is essential to the well-being of China, though at times the river has flooded, killing millions of people. These days, the river is troublesome in another way: The water in it is so egregiously polluted that it’s unfit even for agricultural use. In fact, in any given year, more than four billion tons of sewage is dumped into the river. And, as China continues to industrialize at breakneck speed, the Yellow River has become a toxic waste dump, turning river water colors other than yellow, at the very least.

But there are environment activists in China who would like to clean up the Yellow River. Green Camel Bell, established in 2004, is dedicated to the improvement of declining ecosystems in western China. This group, however, will do little more than educate people. The Chinese government must stop cities and industries from dumping waste into the river, then perhaps the color of the Yellow River will return to its former color.

Ganges River

Ganges River

1. Ganges River

The Ganges River, the most sacred river in Hinduism and the third largest river (by discharge) in the world, holds water that can purportedly cleanse people of sin. Many Hindus think the river’s water is so healthful they actually drink it as if it were an elixir. Be that as it may, the importance of the river cannot be overestimated, as it affects the lives of 400 million people who live near it. Unfortunately, people dump their waste into the Ganges as they use it for drinking, bathing and cooking, giving rise to many water-borne illnesses. In fact, people who can’t afford cremation throw corpses into the river. It’s hard to imagine a filthier river than the beloved Ganges.

Nevertheless, attempts are being made to clean up the Ganges River. The Ganga Action Plan, began in 1985 and considered one of the greatest efforts to clean up a polluted river in the world, has been an abject failure because it’s vastly underfunded. Still, this is a start, and everyone should hope the Ganges River runs clean again.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: Do any of the most polluted rivers in the world show any improvement nowadays?

Answer: I haven't seen improvement in any of them.

Question: Which river is the most polluted in the world?

Answer: My article says the Ganges is the most polluted, and it still appears to be in that state.

Question: Is Singapore in China?

Answer: No, it's near the southern tip of Malaysia in Southeast Asia.

Question: Is the Kelani River in Sri Lanka safe to drink from?

Answer: I'm sorry, you'll have to do your own research.

Question: What are the criteria or factors to evaluate a river as more or less polluted?

Answer: It's just about impossible to know exactly how polluted a river actually is, but the author's selection process includes statements by environmental protection organizations such as the Ocean Cleanup; otherwise, the selections are his alone.

© 2014 Kelley Marks


some dude5522 on February 21, 2020:

The Mississippi River is brown from sediment and is far cleaner even with all the agricultural runoff than I would be naturally without human intervention. There are natural oil springs under it which have mostly been capt off; your welcome. It does not deserve to be on this list. Also I hate the fact that we have to make this list at all. People are disgusting and ignorant.

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on January 03, 2020:

Somebody suggested that the Mississippi River doesn't belong on this list. If it's so clean, why is there a huge dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico just beyond the delta of the river? It may not be as bad as some of the rivers of this list but it's still badly polluted!

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on December 01, 2019:

The Yamuna River is definitely filthy and could probably go on this list. Perhaps I'll add it. Thanks for the suggestion!...

mae on December 01, 2019:

wat about the Yamuna river?

Blake on May 09, 2019:

Very helpful for my school project

Ram on May 29, 2018:

The best resurch for all river's & next few years ganga is the cleanest river in the world

krewski on April 16, 2018:

super sad that why the world can't have nice thing but this is also very interesting

cool cat on April 11, 2018:

super sad but also super interesting i alawys wondered why the mmiisispi river was so muddy now i know that is so cool

blah blah on February 27, 2018:


potato on February 15, 2018:

I live in Bangladesh. people literally use the name of Buriganga as a slang here.

Deanna on February 08, 2018:

Absolutely heartbreaking these rivers being so polluted the population should rise up in the man if they be cleaned out

NO NAME on December 12, 2017:

@dacoda its not gross or "ewwwwww" to them its just apart of their life and its their ways of being its not eww or gross its just different!!!

Kan Shim on November 23, 2017:

Oh my god!I drank ganges river's water a few days ago.I didn't know it's most polluted river!Wow!

derpmonsterplayz on November 08, 2017:

this is sad

Yash raghav on October 18, 2017:

Now position of ganga's have improved and now it is much cleaner as Indian govt has banned open defection near ganga

travis on September 19, 2017:

wow the most holiest and dirtiest water ganga river

Samir Gope on August 09, 2017:

One day the Ganga will be the cleanest river in the world.

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on July 20, 2017:

Thanks for the comment, Angel Guzman. This article has been very popular and I'm very happy about that, even though the subject matter is troubling. Later!

Angel Guzman from Joliet, Illinois on July 20, 2017:

Very well written and important article. Sad

Lechar arjona on July 14, 2017:

We are killing our own race...soooo sad.

Janice Giacobbe on June 23, 2017:

My daughter moved to Mud Island on the Mississippi River. While I was there we watched many amazingly beautiful sunsets over the river. I began research to find out why it was so muddy and came across this most disturbing and sad article. I would love to see a documentary made of the world's most polluted rivers also something like this should be posted on all social media outlets possible from Facebook to print. I was amazed that the US has 2 of the top 10 most polluted rivers in the WORLD. That combined with our leader's policy on the environment is disgraceful. Thank you for sharing this information!!

Maddison on June 20, 2017:

This is so sad. This is one of the reasons why Recycling is so important! It helps reduce the amount of waste and the amount of raw materials used. Save the earth by recycling, one thing at a time.

tomas on June 01, 2017:

There are no your or mine rivers. They are everybody's resposibility all the human beings. If you lived there you would be doing the same thing as they are doing and then somebody else in your place would be saying 'I am keeping my rivers clean so go and keep yours'.

Ahmed Jalloh on May 29, 2017:

Its serious and worrisome to say.

Dr.J.Trump on May 22, 2017:

I work as scientist in New York and recently the team and I have been discussing the matter of polluted rivers. We believe this is caused by a rare disease called,"VelexIvanca". We are very surprised that this disease hasn't passed on to humans, however this might be a disease that only lives in particular water particles. Currently we are working on a treatment to get rid of this disease from our rivers.-Dr.J.Trump

MRS JAMES on May 22, 2017:

This is a really serious situation KEEP OUR RIVERS ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY

dan on May 22, 2017:

wow this is a serious issue

pavithra on May 16, 2017:

Keep environmental should be good..... otherwise one day we will die

Muhammad Nawaz on May 03, 2017:

Although the articles named 10 rivers as top polluted, the list includes all rivers, especially in developing countries. Pakistan is not an exception where all pollution eventually ends up in rivers. Hotels in tourist spots along rivers connect their sewerage line with river. Thanks to bad governance because there is no one ready to own water bodies. Rivers are orphans stand nowhere in the list of public priorities. Lets work together to start awareness campaign (as this article does) first and then gather like-minded civil society groups for ensuring collective efforts to cleanse our rivers - the source of life for all species.

Gail Miller on April 22, 2017:

The world is overpopulated with humans. Need more birth control and education for women. Why do religions ignore this problem? The Pope himself said the world looked like a garbage dump on his last tour, but yet he is against birth control. We are killing off all our wildlife, polluting our oceans and rivers, damaging our topsoil, chopping the rain forests down for palm oil plantations. It is disgraceful that the human species, who is supposed to be the most intelligent species on earth is destroying it's own habitat.

Shreyakirti patil on April 14, 2017:

Stop doing this ......

triggerd on April 06, 2017:

i cant believe it

ARON on March 28, 2017:


herpaderp on March 23, 2017:

probaly smell bad

Cecile Sanzo on March 17, 2017:

This makes my heart cry!

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on March 13, 2017:

I knew somehow that a Philippine river would be on this list. I'm surprised there is only one river from the Philippines, though...

noname on February 22, 2017:

i cant belive that a river can catch on fire!!!!

James on February 18, 2017:

Disgraceful. Seriously

G.D.C on February 09, 2017:

I am doing reserach for a school project and this list was very helpful.

Thank you Mr.Kelly.

Luke on February 07, 2017:

So sad to see this

no nameed person on February 01, 2017:

I agree with Liz it is sad its like people don't even care about the water and its sad for the sea animals I mean they are a breathing and living thing just like use so if you want to live with dirty water and keep dumping waste into the water think about the lives of fish you are killing people that is stupid and hateful it is so if you want to keep dumping waste think about the chance of death for your love ones and make sure the 90% turns into a 1% chance for death or cancer so if I were you I would think twice. I hope you get inspired from this comment and you better think twice ok people if you agree please comment.

Abbi on January 16, 2017:

wow its terrible to see and hear that all these people are going through the suffering and pain of having no clean water

Liz on December 06, 2016:

Wow that is so sad to see how much people have destroyed nature. Not to mention all the poor people who can't afford to have the water cleaned, which gives them a horrible illness. I hope people will be able to save the rivers, the people, and also the poor living creatures in the water.

kanishka on November 09, 2016:

i really feel bad to see the ganges river in a bad condition as i am an indian.we should take steps to solve these consequences around the world.

Kosmo on September 19, 2016:

Polluted rivers are not cheap and easy to clean up Gary McNeish, unless you can find many volunteers who will help remove the trash. The water will have to be purified as well, and the toxic sediment dredged away. And, of course, removing places of contamination would be very expensive. Otherwise, people would simply do it right now, wouldn't they?

GaryMcneish on September 18, 2016:

Any waterway, pond, lake, river etc, that is polluted with sewage can be cleaned with very little cost and no energy.

chris on September 13, 2016:

The waters in this artical are very dirty but quite simply so people do not get sick from bathing, drinking and smelling the fumes of them waters is to chlorinate the waters the ones nessasary with clorine basically the only dirty parts of the rivers will be the plastics decaying carcases and other industrial matter.

jhon on August 30, 2016:

it is a good list but i am an indian and ask all my relatives to clean up the river GANGA

gg on August 29, 2016:

this is very sad to me

aleah on August 24, 2016:

Its really sad to see those once beautiful rivers destroyed. The human race is a disgrace.

Raffy on July 27, 2016:

Since human developed cities and industries the modern life style has changed. Man has been using the misusing natural resources up to the limit.

Samantha on July 24, 2016:

Loved this artical, I didn't even know half of these rivers existed! Every bit of knowledge will do us good!

Melanie Palen from Midwest, USA on May 24, 2016:

Really interesting hub! It would be awesome to see these images in full size!

Peter Nee on May 12, 2016:

It is helpful but it dosnt have dates on to help me with my school work

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on April 30, 2016:

Thanks for the comment, Stella Kaye. Everybody should worry about the health of our precious rivers. Later!

Mark on April 24, 2016:

With the recent news that the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has been leaking more and more stored waste, as more and more waste containers decay, the final resting spot for the heavy metals, and nuclear materials has ended up in the Colombia River, bordering WA, OR, ID states and source in British Colombia, making it possible the most polluted river in the world. Adding this to the already advancing high level waste from Fukushima, Japan...the coastlines of WA and OR are going to be very radioactive soon....as the river empties at the borders of both states into the Pacific Ocean.

Stella Kaye from UK on April 20, 2016:

Yes, I feel it's down to writers like us to educate people as sometimes they just don't see the consequences of their actions!

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on April 20, 2016:

Thanks for the comment, Stella Kaye. You're right about the fact that polluted rivers create polluted oceans. If only people would wake up!

Stella Kaye from UK on April 19, 2016:

Excellent article. I recently watched a documentary on the Citarum River and it's amazing how many people just don't see a connection between the rubbish dumped into rivers and the diseases they get. They also overlook the fact that if the world's rivers are polluted then it will only be a matter of time before the oceans are too.

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on April 10, 2016:

Thanks for the comment, Jacinto. According to my research, the Ganges is one very polluted river. Maybe it isn't the worst in the world, but it certainly belongs in the top ten. Later!

Jacinto on April 09, 2016:

The Ganges River is special. People ad that waste to the water because is not only the biggest river IN THE WORLD but it is also an special river full of amazing minerals that automatically clean the water itself from contaminets. While the end of the river looks polluted, the river is connected with another river where people can see the amazing clarity and purity of the Ganges River after coming Down from the mountains.

Yes it is sad it is polluted but no health issues or outbreaks has been reported, unlike many people who drink tap water process by plants. Lol.

Also we need to contribute this not to people it to corporations that change their habits contributing to pollution, back in the times we didn't have plastic, paper cups, we had glass, everything was hold on glass, or terracota vases.

People didn't pollute, corporations did by changing people's ways of living for their profits.

People should educate themselves a little before making remarks. But that's what I think. They should watch the documentary of Ganges River, it is amazing.

Al from Australia, Hong Kong, USA on March 25, 2016:

Interesting list!

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on January 12, 2016:

Thanks for the comment, vrdm. Fortunately, many people like this article. It seems polluted rivers make an interesting story. Later!

Deacon Martin from Bristol, UK on January 12, 2016:

Very useful. Good piece.

Ricardo on December 28, 2015:

Just search for Brazil Mud desaster and you will see. This happened two months ago. The river was clean and full of life before that. It was probably the biggest environmental disaster of a river of all times, in the world.

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on December 28, 2015:

Ricardo, I'll have to check out the Doce River. If it's as bad as you say, it probably should be on this list. Maybe I'll add it. Later!

Ricardo on December 27, 2015:

You can updated this list with the Doce River in Brazil, that was recently polluted with more than 65 millions of liters of mining metal rejects and killing all forms of life for 400kilometers. There's no river more poluted than Doce River (in extension and proporcionality (100%)).

abigail on December 06, 2015:

i think this is amazing it helped a lot of students including me !!!!!!!!!!

mlu on July 28, 2015:

awesome research you did, i still wonder who in their right state of mind continues to pollute river in low income areas to gain profit human perceptions have to be altered seriously

lace on July 20, 2015:

This was awesome reading :-) Tho the human race saddens me :-(

Burningbridge68 on March 26, 2015:

Hello um well this has really helped in a really good way good work Kosmo....!!!!!! :)

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on March 03, 2014:

Thanks for the comments, CMHypno and RonElFran. It will take vast amounts of money to clean up these rivers. The U.S. and China have the money to do so, but I'm not sure about the other countries. Let's hope they all do their fair share of clean-up. Later!

Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on March 02, 2014:

The photos you include really give a sense of the depth of the problem. I'm really sorry to see our mighty Mississippi on the list!

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on March 02, 2014:

When there were very few of us humans we could get away with chucking all our muck into the rivers, but now there are just too many of us and we need to clean up our act if our waterways are going to have any chance of becoming healthy again

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on March 01, 2014:

Thanks for the comment, CWanamaker. Everyone should learn more about the polluted rivers of the world, because we're all responsible - to a certain extent. Later!

Christopher Wanamaker from Arizona on February 28, 2014:

This a sad reminder of the devastation that humanity can cause. Thanks for raising awareness on the subject!

Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on February 24, 2014:

Thanks for the comment, Hackslap and fordie. I agree with fordie that China may clean up its rivers before India, but both countries need to begin a major clean-up sooner rather than later. Bye!

fordie on February 23, 2014:

Great choice of topic. Just back to China from India so this is very relevant. Look at the top 3. I expect China will deal with the problem well before India

Harry from Sydney, Australia on February 23, 2014:

Not surprised at this list at all! ..A very thorough hub..good work :)

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