10 Most Polluted Lakes in the World

Is no doubt that one of the greatest threats to humans, animals, plants, and the biosphere in this present dispensation is Pollution which comes in different forms.

The issue here is that the areas that are most polluted on our planet today happen to be our waterbodies like our lakes and rivers. Our lakes are not exempted from this pollution as the number of lakes that are being polluted is increasing rapidly daily.

We can’t even dispute the fact that lakes have a great impact on humans and animals as they benefit greatly from them. This article is the list of the most polluted lakes in the world with their locations and how polluted they have become.

Most Polluted Lakes in the World

  • Lake Karachay, Russia
  • Lake Victoria, Africa
  • Onondaga Lake, New York
  • Lake Tai, China
  • Bellandur Lake, India
  • Serra Pelada Lake, Brazil
  • Potpeć Lake, Siberia
  • Lake Erie, North America
  • Oneida Lake, New York
  • Lake Michigan, North America

1. Lake Karachay, Russia

Lake Karachay most polluted lakes in the world
Lake Karachay

Lake Karachay is located in the southern Ural highland that is in western Russia, is a small lake of one square mile in size.

For good 12 years this lake was used to dispose of nuclear waste by the Soviet Union, the lake is covered with a high – level of radioactive waste to a depth of about 3.4 meters.

Due to this radiation, the environment is contaminated and can cause harm to health faster in some areas around the lake and it is considered to be the most polluted lake in the world.

2. Lake Victoria, Africa

Lake Victoria is one the largest lake in Africa by area with an area surface of about 59,947 km², it’s the largest tropical lake globally which made it to be the largest Lake in Africa.

It is also known to be the second-largest fresh water by surface area and is located in eastern central Africa.

This lake has been a means of transport between Tanzania and Uganda down to Kenya because it forms the border between the three countries.

The lake was named after Queen Victoria in 1858 its reign ended in 1901, but up-to-date the lake retains its name. The lake is also known as Nam Lolwe (Dholuo), and Nyanza (Kinyarwanda) and it is the source of the Nile River.

This lake is considered to be one of the most polluted lakes in the world, it is been contaminated by chemicals, raw sewerage, and fertilizers. It is a very common ground where both industrial waste and household waste are being disposed which results in a reduction in the water quality.

The lake becomes toxic as it severs millions of people, their health care effects, and even animals at risk also.

3. Onondaga Lake, New York

Onondaga Lake originated in central New York state, It is a dwelling place for birds, fish, and animals irrespective of their size, it was once used for producing medicines, foods, and for drinking.

Currently, it is one of the most polluted lakes in the world, which is contaminated by mercury, heavy metals, toxic waste, Raw sewerage, chemical waste, and many other factors that have polluted the lake.

Some activities that were once carried out in this lake have been banned like Swimming, fishing and so on, due to the pollution.

This lake has high nutrient concentrations and algal blooms. Amount of mercury about 165000 pounds is disposed of in the lake.

4. Lake Tai, China

Lake Taihu also commonly known as Taihu or Lake Tai is a lake that originated from the Yangtze Delta that is close to Shanghai in China. The lake is situated in Jiangsu province precisely and it forms the border with Zhejiang.

According to history about Lake Tai by an ancient legend, Lake Tai is said to be an incarnation of a stupendous silver basin that is in heaven, which is decorated with about 72 emerald beads that fell accidentally to our planet.

The 72 emerald beads turned into 72 peaks making the silver basin turn into Taihu Lake and the beads were scattered in the environment.

The lake is polluted due to the rate at which the region surrounding it is developing rapidly and it is surrounded by many factories which end up dumping industrial waste into the lake. This pollution keeps increasing daily.

5. Bellandur Lake, India

Bellandur Lake which location is in the suburb of Bellandur in the southeast of Bengaluru city in India. It serves as a drainage system in Bellandur and is the largest lake in the city.

This was once used during the British regime landing space for marine aircraft, as things evolves and industrialization has taken place, the lake has now become part of the drainage system of the city.

Currently, this lake is considered to be the most polluted lake in Bengaluru city due to the untreated sewage water that flows into the lake via a different channel.

This lake has caught fire several times, the most recent one happened in January 2018 and March 2021respectively.

6. Serra Pelada Lake, Brazil

Serra Pelada Lake most polluted lakes in the world
Serra Pelada Lake

Serra Pelada is located in Para Brazil which a depth is about 140 meters It was once a gold mine and about 20-50 tons of gold might be found in the lake.

Serra Pelada wasn’t a lake initially, it was an old gold mine that was dumped and flooded that is how this lake came about.

The lake’s surroundings are considered to be highly polluted due to mercury in the gold during the extraction process.

The lake is polluted with mercury which has made it to be harmful and the people living around this area are said to have a high level of mercury due to their consumption of contaminated fish.

7. Potpeć Lake, Siberia

Potpeć Lake is on the Lim River, located in Serbia. It is a man-made reservoir that was built to generate hydroelectric power and the lake is commonly known as The Lake of Garbage.

The lake is currently polluted by plastic garbage, and trash from landfills uphill around the Lim River. This happened as a result of the rain that fell heavily in January 2021. The lake contains a large number of plastic waste that is about 20,000 cubic meters.

8. Lake Erie, North America

Lake Erie is one of the largest lakes in the world. This lake is also the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes in North America and it is very shallow and small by volume of the Great Lakes.

It has borders between New York, the Canadian province of Ontario, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio. it is considered to be the most productive of the Great Lakes.

This lake is one of the most polluted lakes in the world and it is the dirtiest of the Great Lakes. It is contaminated by sewage, agricultural runoff, pesticides, fertilizers, and waste that is from the drainpipe of the city.

The rate at which factories and cities close by dispose of their chemical waste into the lake are very high which has resulted in the loss of aquatic life.

9. Oneida Lake, New York

Oneida Lake is the largest lake in New York state, which location is Syracuse northeast precisely close to the Great Lakes and its surface area is about 79.8 square miles.

The lake is commonly known for its yellow perch fishery and walleye. The lake is currently one of the most polluted lakes in the world.

It contains excessive nutrients, especially phosphorus that is from agricultural runoff and even factories. The lake is included in the list of impaired waters under the Clean Water Act of 1998.

10. Lake Michigan, North America

Lake Michigan- most polluted lakes in the world
Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is third-largest by surface area and by volume it is the second-largest of the Great Lakes.

Lake Michigan is also a dwelling place for several animals, over 80 species of fish are included. Its surface serves as a shelter for birds, and this lake’s depth is sheltered to so many aquatic mammals for instance the endangered Lake Michigan River Otter.

Currently, this lake is considered to be the most polluted lake in the world due to the heavy industrial presence around its shores. This is one of the most polluted lakes in the world.

 It is contaminated by animal fecal waste or sewage. These wastes contain different kind of harmful disease that affects both humans and aquatic animals.


It is very bad that most of our lakes are polluted beyond repair. This is a call for action by both individuals and the government to restore this lake.

Some measures need to be properly implemented for instance new restrictions and laws that will control and supervise the industries that are around these lakes and also the waters that surround these Lakes that contaminate the lakes are supposed to be inspected.

what is the most polluted lake in the world?

Lake Karachay Russia


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