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April 15, 2019

Rivers are a major source of fresh water for us. They’re also home to thousands of freshwater marine species such as dolphins. And while you’d think we’d want to protect the health of our rivers because of these reasons, lately, we’ve been doing a lot of things wrong.

Toxic waste material from industries and plastic pollution from households are causing a shortage in our drinking water supply and killing marine life.

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The gist of the matter is that worldwide pollution is wreaking havoc on our rivers’ ecosystems and threatening all the lives dependent on them—including ours. The interesting thing is that a majority of this pollution comes from just 10 rivers spread across the globe. Want to know which ones made it to the top of the list? Read on to find out.

7. Mississippi River

As one of the longest running rivers in the world, the Mississippi serves as a lifeline for millions of Americans. But lately, the color of the river has developed a brownish tinge. That’s just one indicator of the levels of pollution in it. Oil spills, industrial waste, and toxic fertilizer waste from agricultural practices are all reducing the oxygen levels in this river and killing its aquatic life.

6. Marilao River

Crossing through the heart of Philippines, this river is regularly bombarded with waste dumping. The main contents of this waste are plastics and metals. The Marilao is also prone to flooding, and is causing major soil degradation in the region.

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5. Buringanga River

The biggest river in Bangladesh is being polluted by tanneries, plastics, and other human waste. If you look at recent pictures of the river, you’ll notice that it looks black. That’s because most of the aquatic life in the river has died.

4. Sarno River

This is the only European river on this list, but it’s way too polluted to not make it in the top 5. Flowing through Italy, the river is contaminated with industrial waste and agricultural waste that are now suspected to be the leading source of liver cancer in the area.

3. Yellow River

As one of the leading greenhouse gas emitting countries, China’s rapid industrialization is putting its rivers at great risk.  The Yellow River is turning toxic due to increased waste from coal mining and leaks from chemical industries. What’s more worrying is that locals are mainly dependent on the Yellow river for their drinking water supply.

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2. Citarum River

Serving a population of over 200 million people, the Citarum River is Indonesia’s most important yet most polluted river. Increased levels of industrial waste dumping have rung up the mercury concentration to dangerous levels and caused thousands of deaths.

1. Ganges River

The irony of the Ganges being one of the most polluted rivers in the world is that it’s the most sacred river in India. The Hindu population often bathes in the river as part of their belief that the river will cleanse them off their sins. But the real contamination comes from the large amounts of plastic waste being dumped into the waters instead of being directed elsewhere to landfills.

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River pollution is a major cause of the world’s water problems. You can helpsave the ocean by donating 10 percent of your income to ocean conservation charities like the Sea Turtles Preservation Association and Ocean Conservancy. Shop some coolocean-themed goodies from our website and make your contribution now!

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