Gone are the days when swimming in rivers and lakes was safe and enjoyable. We are increasingly looking into the water - are there any chemical stains, is there something strange floating by?
Swimming in such bodies of water means at least a bad smell, dirt, and even the risk of contracting unusual diseases, even death.
And places such as Lake Karachay or the Indian Ganges are generally world leaders in terms of their pollution. We will talk about the dirtiest bodies of water in the world below.
Citarum. The Indonesian island of Java has the dirtiest river in the world. Its length is only 300 kilometers, but on its banks there are more than 500 factories, many of which are textile. They all pour their waste into the Citarum. Garbage collection points simply do not exist here, as well as toilets in their modern form. But only 20 years ago it was a pristine river that served the people living on its banks. Citarum provided food to numerous canals that irrigated the surrounding fields, people fished here, and there was food for birds. Water was even taken for domestic needs. Today, due to garbage emissions from nine million people and hundreds of factories, there are places on the river where the surface is not visible at all. Fish is out of the question - now only plastic bottles are caught here. Although immersion in the murky waters of the Citarum is dangerous to human health, people still swim here. Fishermen began to catch trash from the water, it is more profitable than the previous trade. Garbage collectors earn 1-2 dollars a day, but this is fraught with the risk of illness. The dirty water goes to the rice fields, where it is absorbed into the soil. But the river is still a source of water for drinking and domestic needs. The decline was the result of the rapid industrial growth in the region during the 1980s. The negative effect will carry over further, because Tsitarum is one of the largest rivers feeding Lake Saguling. There the French built the largest hydroelectric power station in West Java. Experts believe that the amount of garbage will soon become so much that the river's water flow will decrease. As a result, the generator of the hydroelectric power station will cease to provide full power, which will lead to a lack of electricity for the factories. Maybe at least it would allow the river to breathe again.
Great North American Lakes. On the border between Canada and the United States are huge lakes - Michigan, Erie, Huron, Upper and Ontario. But today they are rather dirty bodies of water, ahead of all others on the continent. Initially, the lakes are a natural treasure, there is not only a lot of fresh water, but also a rich fauna. But man could not save the Great Lakes from typical environmental problems. The situation in them has deteriorated sharply thanks to the surrounding chemical plants, metallurgy, oil refining terminals. These industrial facilities supply the lakes with toxins, which makes the waters a real poisonous soup. The struggle of the governments of the USA and Canada for the cleanliness of the lakes has so far been unsuccessful. The largest freshwater lake on the planet, the Upper, has already changed its temperature regime. This leads to a change in the directions of wind and currents, which will change the appearance of a unique natural object.
Yangtze. The Chinese river is the third longest in the world after the Nile and the Amazon, and the longest in Asia at 6,300 kilometers. But in the WWF rating it firmly occupies the first place, only by such a controversial criterion as the dirtiest river in the world. The fact is that 17 thousand Chinese cities on the banks of the Yangtze do not have a purification system. That is why all waste is dumped into a giant river. But for the country's largest megacities - Shanghai, Wuhan and Nanjing, the Yangtze is the only source of water. That is why the condition of this river is an urgent problem for China itself. About 500 million people live on the banks of the river; it contains 40% of all the country's water reserves. The authorities themselves state that the water quality is generally good. But the volume of polluted water in the Yangtze is 34 billion tons. But according to officials, this is not enough in relation to a trillion tons of annual flow. And this figure is increasing by 2 percent every year. On the banks of the river there are 400 thousand chemical plants, 5 large steel-making complexes and 7 oil refineries. In addition, about 300 thousand tons of dangerous goods such as oil, liquid gas, fuel oil, and gasoline are transported along the river every day.
Lake Onondaga. This American lake is located in the state of New York, near Syracuse. In the United States itself, a natural reservoir is designated as an extremely dangerous place. But at the end of the 19th century, many resorts were built along the coastline. But the industrial revolution and the growth of cities led to the massive discharge of dirty waters here, which led to the degradation of the lake. Today, nitrates, phosphates, mercury and dangerous bacteria are abundant here. In 1901, the authorities banned the collection of years from Onondaga, and in 1940 they banned swimming here. In 1970, mercury pollution led to a ban on fishing. The law passed in 1973 did not help and clean water and the closure of large industrial pollutants in 1986, as well as the installation of purification systems. Only in our time, fish are gradually returning to the lake, birds have decreased the content of chemicals in the water. But it is still far from complete victory.
King River. This river is the dirtiest in Tasmania. And the reason for this phenomenon was a copper mine, which began operating at the end of the 19th century near Queenstown. For decades, millions of tons of waste were dumped into the water, and smoke from chimneys caused acid rain in the area. This water also drained into the King River. Until 1995, about 1.5 million tons of sulphides were discharged into the river annually. Even the closure of the mine did not really change the situation - after all, heavy waste is at the very bottom of the King River. In total, people dumped about one hundred million tons of waste into the river.
Lake Tai. This reservoir is located in eastern China, and its shores are home to about 3 thousand factories. The lake is not only large, but also one of the dirtiest. Today, the authorities are spending millions of dollars to save the reservoir. Much remains to be done to completely remove all industrial waste and sewage sludge. There was a real panic when the parasitic algae covered the surface of the lake with a thick layer. Water intake from there stopped immediately. Due to aquatic plants, the circulation of oxygen was hampered, which led to the extinction of living inhabitants. The shutdown has caused the city of Wuxi, with a population of 4.5 million, to experience a drinking water problem. So the development of industry led to a natural disaster. The Chinese are optimistic that the problem of dirty water in the lake will be solved in 8-10 years at the expense of a specially created purification plant.
Yellow River. The famous Chinese Yellow River is the second largest in the country with an indicator of 5464 kilometers. The yellow color of its waters is associated with sediment. But today the color of the water has already become brown, and in some places red. It's all the fault of the chemicals that are dumped into the river by neighboring factories. The constant installation of dams and a change in the flow of the Yellow River leads to its drying up in some sections. And the rapidly growing Chinese cities only make matters worse. In 2008, a report was officially published, which states that severe pollution has made a third of the river completely unusable for agricultural or industrial use. Every year, 4.3 billion tons of waste is dumped into the Yellow River, with the share of industry - 70%, and households - 23%. This is twice as much as was dumped into the river in the 80s and exceeds the river's ability to restore balance on its own. Even the economic damage from such pollution has been calculated - up to 15 billion yuan annually. The water of the Yellow River is actively used by agriculture, which takes up to 90% of all water used. As a result, the health of farmers is under threat, and additional expenses are spent on filtration.
Lake Victoria. Three countries have access to this unique water body - Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. As a result, there is a debate about who should take care of the lake. The reservoir turned out to be without an owner, and although there are rules for local residents and guests, no one observes them. Someone washes a car here, while neighboring settlements and enterprises quietly dump sewage. And this despite the fact that they swim and fish in the lake. Meanwhile, the situation with water pollution is already so serious that contact with it can cause cholera, diarrhea and severe skin diseases. Algae are rapidly multiplying in the lake, about half of the fish population has already disappeared.
Sarno river. Many people call this river in the central part of Italy, not only the dirtiest in the country, but in general in Europe. Sarno passes through Pompeii and carries its waters to the Gulf of Naples. Chemical fertilizers from the fields and city wastewater get here. The measures taken by the authorities are ineffective. But the waters of Sarno are still used for irrigation. In addition, the river often overflows, which further aggravates the ecological situation in the surrounding lands.
Mississippi. The main river of North America flows through 10 American states. Initially, the river valley, covered with a thick layer of silty sediments, was the most fertile place. Only three hundred years have passed since the Europeans came here. Now the continent's largest waterway has been poisoned by human activity. Until recently, the river itself purified its waters, but industrial wastewater and agricultural activities have significantly undermined the health of the Mississippi. Today, the river carries toxic wastewater, millions of cubic meters of waste and harmful bacteria. Chlorine-containing hydrocarbons enter the river from the atmosphere. Oxides of sulfur, nitrogen and carbon, as well as industrial waste, household chemicals, pesticides are abundantly present in the waters of the Mississippi. Once there, they settle to the bottom, mix with silt, becoming part of the fish diet. It is no coincidence that in many places fishing is generally prohibited here. Below Minneapolis, the waters of the "Big Dirt" - Missouri are pouring into the Mississippi. In the lower reaches, the river is damaged by petrochemical plants. As a result, huge oil spills can be seen in Louisiana on the river. The last major city on the Mississippi, New Orleans, saw a surge in cancer in the 70s and 80s. It is strongly discouraged to drink raw water here. And the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico appears to be a real "death zone". Not only does all the garbage get here, but because of it there is also a low concentration of oxygen. This makes it impossible for aquatic organisms to live here.
Karachay. In the twentieth century, a new type of pollution appeared - radioactive. A classic example of such inhumane treatment of nature is Lake Karachay in the Chelyabinsk region, Russia. Since 1948, the Mayak plant began operating on the shores of the reservoir, which processed spent radioactive materials. Since 1951, this facility began to use for the storage of waste liquid waste not the Techa River, as before, but Lake Karachay. At present, about 120 million curies of such radioactive materials as cesium and strontium have accumulated there. Over time, it was decided to fill the lake completely, which was started in 1986, but was never completed. Today, the coast of Karachay is one of the most dangerous places in the world. It is believed that an hour-long stay here can kill a person. True, the problem will not completely disappear with the filling of the lake, because the groundwater will continue to be contaminated.
Ganges. The main Indian river is the third most abundant in the world. It has long been considered sacred for Hindus, pilgrimages are made to it, but at the same time, cremations and ritual ablutions are performed on the banks of the Ganges. Today the river is considered one of the dirtiest rivers in the world. But the health and lives of more than 500 million people living in its basin depend on the waters of the Ganges. From the very top, the river becomes muddy due to overcrowded cities and the drains of numerous businesses. In addition, the Ganges also spills seasonally, collecting all the sewage and waste of human life. Even swimming in the river, not to mention drinking, provokes various infectious diseases. For example, an area near the city of Varanasi contains 120 times more fecal enterobacteria than is allowed. It is actually not a river, but a brown vessel of excrement and sewage. In this sacred place, the deceased are cremated, and many of the dead are simply thrown into the river. Every year from just one bathing in the Ganges and subsequent diseases die 1.5-3 million people, mostly children. Government plans to build treatment facilities have failed. It's good that the river has a long-known ability to self-purify, simply preventing dangerous bacteria from multiplying above a certain level.