Up the Citarum, Without a Paddle


This shocking image is of the Citarum River in Indonesia. Five million people live in the rivers basin, but it carries the waste and pollution from nine million, and a plethora of factories that are far more concerned with profit than the environment. It’s as neglected online as it is in real life.

Although the river used to support many fishermen, the men pictured aren’t after fish. It’s now more profitable, partly because of the abundance of waste, and partly because of the scarcity of fish, to forage for rubbish, which they can exhume and trade.

These same men that are working on the lake also live from it. The surrounding area isn’t well developed, so the river water is used, untreated, to irrigate paddy fields, and for domestic bathing, cooking and drinking.Some people are even worried that this massive pollution will have an effect further down the line, in France. The Citarum is one of two rivers that feed lake Saguling where the French have built large hydro-electric plants. If the river chokes, then so does a portion of France’s electricity supply.

Its downfall started in the late 1980s, but is now worse than it has ever been. Indonesia has been going through an industrial boom, and these images give the impression of what many rivers in London must have looked like during the industrial revolution.

In many ways, the problems that affected many countries then are the same as the ones that face countries like Indonesia now. Except now, instead of polluting our own cities, the West buys products from factories in Indonesia, where they pollute their own country for us. :: Daily Mail

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