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5 of the World’s Most Polluted Bodies of Water

most polluted bodies of water in world
Kcida10 (talk) (Uploads)., Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Fasten your seatbelts, dear adventurers! We are embarking on a not-so-magical mystery tour of the most polluted bodies of water in the world. These H2O-NO zones take dirty laundry to a whole new level. Brace yourselves, it’s about to get real grimy!

1. The Ganges River, India

The first on our list is a tragic paradox. Beloved by over 650 million people and revered as a sacred cleansing source, the Ganges is facing a pollution crisis. With an influx of sewage, chemicals, and other wastes, the waterbody has transformed from a serene river to a floating trash bin, even contributing to increased waterborne diseases. So much for washing away sins, eh?

Ganges River cremation
Burning ghats in Varanasi; the ashes of the dead are released along the banks of the Ganges.

2. The Citarum River, Indonesia

Next, we make a stop in Indonesia, where the Citarum River puts the “gross” in “gross domestic product”. Over 2,000 industrial facilities have played fast and loose with this crucial water source, dumping a delightful cocktail of toxins, including lead and chromium, on a daily basis. Did we mention it supplies drinking water to 25 million people? Cheers to that.

Citarum River
By, Chief on Oct.16,2009 @11:23pm via Wikimedia Commons

3. The Yellow River, China

Onward to China! Affectionately known as the “cradle of Chinese civilization,” the Yellow River is now crying out for a clean diaper change. Thanks to industrialization and urbanization, it’s become a conveyor belt of pollution. You might call it the “Mellow Yellow,” but there’s nothing mellow about this level of pollution.

Yellow River
fading, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

4. The Mississippi River, United States

Ah, the Mississippi, Mark Twain’s once pristine muse, now resembles a toxic soup rather than a peaceful river. Agricultural runoff, plastic pollution, chemical fertilizers, and animal waste are the culprits behind this drastic change, turning it into one of the most polluted bodies in the U.S.

Mississippi River
No machine-readable author provided. PRA assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

5. The Pacific Ocean

And finally, we couldn’t ignore the biggest body of water in the world. The Pacific Ocean is enduring a bit of a crisis with 21,675 tonnes of BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) and 12,252 tonnes of suspended solids entering its waters every year. Plus, the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch is spinning around there like a sinister carousel. As one Google reviewer wrote: “One of the worst oceans I’ve ever seen. There is trash in every corner. If you are lucky enough you have a chance to see some fish, but most areas got out of them sadly. Going here will also make you wet, but the water doesn’t taste good, way to salty.”

pacific ocean marine debris hawaii
Marine debris on a Hawaii beach. NOAA, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Well, aqua explorers, our journey ends here, and it’s safe to say that you won’t be packing your swim trunks for these destinations anytime soon! Let’s remember, water is life, and it’s high time we started treating it that way.

Written by Editorial Team

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