The Citarum River, in West Java, Indonesia, is heavily polluted by human activity; about five million people live in the basin of the river.
This river has an important role in the life of the people of West Java, as it is used to support agriculture, water supply, fishery, industry, sewerage, electricity etc. There are three hydroelectric powerplant dams installed along this river; Saguling, Cirata, and Ir. H. Djuanda (Jatiluhur) hydroelectric powerplants, all supplying the electricity for Bandung and Greater Jakarta area.
Circulating the web
Pictures of this river have been circulating around the web and chain e-mails for the past few years, so we decided do some research into the matter.
- On December 5, 2008, the Asian Development Bank approved a $500 million loan for cleaning up the river, calling it the world’s dirtiest river.
- In 2009, Earthfirst.com stated that locals could no longer make money out of fishing in the river, and that they had resorted to picking through the trash on the surface to find items that could be sold or traded. (source)
- In 2010, CNN Tech pointed out that while the water is being treated for consumption in the larger town and big cities, it is pumped directly (untreated) into the community of Sukamaju. The only filtration available to them is a towel or sock wrapped around a waterspout. The villagers use this water to bath, wash and cook. For drinking, the water is boiled. Health experts told CNN that while this does kill the bacteria, it does not get rid of the heavy metals and toxic chemicals. (source)
- In February 2012, jeef.or.jp stated that the river is now also being used as a sewerage and garbage dump. Shoes, baby diapers and plastic bottles can be found floating in the water. (source)
What is being done about it?
As mentioned before, in 2008, this article stated that the Asian Development Bank was willing to give a loan of 500 million US Dollars to the Government of Indonesia, to renovate this river. However, we are wondering what has been done since? The above list of articles seem to prove that the river is still in a terrible state.
In this day and age, with the environmental issues that we are facing on a daily basis, we think that it is important that something as big as this does not go overlooked. Instead of just sending chain e-mails showing us what we already know, what is being done about it?
If you have any opinions on the matter, or any suggestions as to how you think a massive river clean-up can be achieved, please post your comment below. We would love to see some positive action here.
by Lucas Swart