10 Most Polluted Rivers in the World

The pollution of rivers on our planet is increasing massively daily in this present age due to human activities such as fast fashion, chemical plants, animal agriculture, and fossil fuels, etc that are carried out in these industries.

This has led to the destruction and extinction of many sea animals. Currently, some of the lives of these animals and even humans are threatened due to the constant pollution of these rivers.

Human health is at risk also, especially the ones that are living in an environment that is close to these most polluted rivers in the world. We have put together a list of the most polluted rivers in the world in this article, as the number of rivers that are polluted has rapidly increased.

Measures need to be taken by individuals, government, and private sectors to change the current state of these rivers by cleaning them up and strictly regulating the disposal of industrial and hazardous waste.

10 Most Polluted Rivers in the World

  • Doce River
  • Mississippi River
  • Marilao River
  • Sarno River
  • Jordan River
  • Citarum River
  • Tijuana River
  • Ganges River
  • Mantaza-Riachuelo River
  • Yellow River

1. Doce River

Doce River - Most polluted rivers in the world
Doce River

The Doce River is one of the most polluted rivers in the world. This river used to be the by industries to make steel and it was once a source of fresh water. For about 853 kilometers The river flows from the southeastern part of Brazil.

This river was polluted in November 2015, by two ruptured containment dams that contain about cubic meters of iron ore sludge.

These metals polluted the river which result in the mass destruction of aquatic animals that dwell in this river. This has completely made it toxic and harmful to humans and it can’t be used for human consumption.

Recovering the river from the ecological disaster that took place will be very difficult and currently, the river is harmful to the environment.

2. Mississippi River

The Mississippi River happens to be one of the longest rivers we have on our planet and the color of the river is brown.

This river is currently one of the most polluted rivers in the world due to the continual dump of waste into the river and also the spillages of oil contributed to the contamination of this river.

This river is also a source of fresh water to millions of residents in the US, which has made their health to be at risk and this has caused the aquatic animals to decrease in their population.

Mississippi River is said to have a high level of nitrogen-based fertilizer run-off due to the waste that comes from farmers, which has decreased the level of oxygen in the water and decomposed the food chain instead of leaching into the soil. Arsenic, benzene, and mercury are the main pollutants.

3. Marilao River

Marilao River in the Philippines serves many of its residents they use it for irrigation and drinking. Waste from gold refineries, tanneries, and disposal of non-recyclable materials like plastic bottles contaminate the river.

In this river, you will also find heavy metals that result in serious health issues for people living in such an environment are going through.

There is a high rate of agricultural pollution that flows into the river daily which has made it be seen as a ‘biologically dead’

The Philippines is into poultry and processing plants. they export chicken meat in large quantities globally which has contributed to polluting the Marilao river

This river is also polluted in its environment when it is flooded the waste that is in the river is littered on the land which results in soil degradation.

4. Sarno River

Sarno River is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, this river is in Southern Italy and the river is contaminated by heavy metals, industrial waste, and agriculture that are dangerous which has made the water to be poisonous to residents. The river is considered to be the most polluted river in the European continent.

This river is very toxic which has increased health issues such as liver cancer and other health issues its the environment.

The river floods easily which results in the washout and malignance of our planet which has rapidly increased the cases of liver cancer in its environment.

5. Jordan River

Jordan river- Most polluted rivers in the world
Jordan River

Jordan River is on this list of the most pouted rivers in the world. It is a very popular river due to its religious significance.

The Jordan River flows through the border between Jordan, the Palestinian West Bank, southwestern Syria, and Israel.

Yearly millions of people from different places across the globe visit the river to be baptized. Currently, the river is considered too polluted by agricultural runoff like pesticides, fertilizers, waste from fish farms,s and sewage waste.

The river is no longer safe for human as it is seen as a threat to human health and access to the river have been restricted.

6. Citarum River

Situ Cisanti is the origin of the Citarum River and it is said to be located in West Java, Indonesia in the city of Bandung at the foot of Mount Wayang. The river also flows in length 297 km to the Java Sea and it is considered to be the largest and longest river in West Java Province.

The Citarum River is considered to be one of the most polluted rivers in the world as it is been contaminated with agricultural waste, household waste, fisheries, trading activities, and activities from the oil and gas companies.

Irrespective of the fact that the river is polluted it still serves a very large population in Indonesia and the resident make use of the water which has caused many of them to lose their lives.

Over 50,000 deaths are recorded yearly and up to date the lives of millions of residents in Indonesia that depend on this river for survival are currently at risk.

7. Tijuana River

The Tijuana River which is known as Río Tijuana in Spanish is located near the Pacific coast of northern Baja California state which lies in northwestern Mexico and Southern California.

The river is contaminated with the millions of gallons of raw sewage disposed into the river from Mexico, the city of Tijuana precisely.

The Tijuana River is an intermittent river, about 195 km long and it doesn’t carry a lot of water like others.

This river contains toxic chemicals such as hexavalent chromium, DDT, benzene, mercury, and lead. This river causes a lot of health issues mostly when it dried up. Although the Mexican government has budgeted funds to clean up the river.

 8. Ganges River

The River Ganges origin in the western Himalayas, it runs through northern India to Bangladesh down to Bay Bengal. This river serves millions of people including animals.

The river is polluted by some activities such as overfishing, agricultural runoff, and industrial waste from the city that is close by.

The pollution of this river has caused the death of many aquatic life and humans also. The population of wildlife in this river has decreased rapidly and the health of people living close to the river is in danger.

9. Mantaza-Riachuelo River

The origin of this river is Argentina and is controversially the most polluted river in South America. The presence of industries around the river has made contaminated.

This river is contaminated by the millions of tons of sewage that go into the river every from the industries around the river area.

This river also contains heavy metals like lead and mercury which cause chronic diseases like cancer which many people living near the river have died of and some are battling with it.

This river has a foul smell due to the waste that is been dumped into the river from tanneries and slaughterhouses that are close to the river and also the release of toxic chemicals from industries that deal with chemicals. The river is commonly known as Slaughterhouse River

10. Yellow River

This yellow River is located in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai province of Western China which happens to be its origin. it runs through nine provinces and runs down into the Bohai Sea which is close to the city of Dongying in Shandong province.

It so happens that some part of this China’s Yellow River was once said to be uncleaned for use, especially for drinking.

But it is no longer the case anymore as things have changed presently, though pollution is still a major challenge. The major pollutants of this water are industrial and manufactural waste disposed into the river.

The Yellow River serves water to millions of northern China residents. Meanwhile serious measure needs to be taken so, that the river will not become so polluted that they can’t use it.

The river is considered to be a home for industrial waste from several industries which has made the water very harmful for drinking and agriculture.


The rate at which most of our rivers in the world is been polluted is increasing rapidly daily Serious measures need to be taken to restore these rivers, especially the rivers that are very polluted.

Which river is called the world's most polluted river

Citarum River located in West Java, Indonesia


+ posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.