Top 5 most polluted rivers in Asia

In Asia, some of the most famous rivers are becoming polluted, but which are the worst offenders, and which are the ones to avoid?


5. Buriganga River, Dhaka, Bangladesh

The Buriganga is economically very important to Dhaka. Boats of all sizes provide connection to other parts of Bangladesh, which is a largely riverine country. When the Mughals made Dhaka their capital in 1610, the river was also the city’s main source of drinking water. Today, though, the Buriganga river is afflicted by the problem of pollution. The chemical waste of mills and factories, household waste, medical waste, sewage, dead animals, plastics, and oil are some of the Buriganga’s pollutants. The city of Dhaka discharges about 4,500 tons of solid waste every day and most of it is released into the river, which can impact up to 4 million residents of the city.

Spot any Yangtze Dolphins?
Spot any Yangtze Dolphins?

4. Yangtze River, China

The Yangtze River is the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. Yet the construction of infamous dams along the river’s course have caused widespread damage to the ecosystem. Furthermore, the natural flow of migratory fish was obstructed and biodiversity across the whole basin decreased dramatically. The pollution of the Yangtze was exacerbated by the discharge of waste from pig farms as well as from untreated industrial and municipal sewage

Photo Credit: Greenpeace
Photo Credit: Greenpeace

3. Marilao River, Manila, The Philippines

The river that flows through the Philippine capital is the Marilao River. Industrial waste is pumped into the Marilao, which itself should be a source of drinking water and agricultural necessity for the millions of residents living within its basin. Greenpeace have identified the Marilao as a major cause of concern.

Bath time? (Photo: Getty Images)
Bath time? (Photo: Getty Images)

2. Yamuna River, Delhi, India

In 1909, the waters of the Yamuna were distinguishable as “clear blue”, compared to the dirty yellow of the Ganges. Yet less than 100 years later, due to high density population growth and rapid industrialization, the Yamuna is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, especially around the National Capital Region of Delhi, where it is said that 58% of the city’s waste is dumped into the river.


1. Citarum River, Jakarta, Indonesia

The Citarum River is the world’s most polluted river. This disgusting mess of a waterway is heavily polluted by Human activity, with over 5 million people living within its basin. Textile factories are major contributors to the pollution of the river, with more than 2,000 industries contaminate 5,020sqm of the Citarum with lead, arsenic, mercury, and other infectious toxins.



8 thoughts on “Top 5 most polluted rivers in Asia

  1. Surely something can be done in all these cases, stricter regulations followed by fines for deliberate pollution; and simultaneously bringing about an infrastructural change in these areas. I am an Indian, and very well know India has the potential to do much better; but, we have a tendency to give less importance to our environmental cleanliness at large. our households are clean, because we are a basically clean race of people. but we give less importance to our immediate surroundings and admire other countries. we can start by not littering our streets, and bring the litter home to get rid of it in better ways along with that of our own. it’s not impossible, we have the capability of achieving this goal. but we have to persevere with determination and humility and start SMALL ! It can be achieved, but we have to think as one ! it’s a shame we look at others with awe when it comes to their achievements, but when it comes to our own backyard we don’t appreciate people who think out of their own box; but instead ridicule them; with thoughts such as … “its never going to change”. little do we realize that some of the most developed economies/ countries were once upon a time worse off than other great civilizations like India, and others…. Yes we got robbed by our colonialists and invaders; but we have to put these issues [although painful, unfair and sad] behind us, march ahead and bring about a distinct change through sincere and unbiased intentions. Jai Hind !!!


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