An article by Nadya Natahadibrata, The Jakarta Post.
Citarum River in West Java and the entire island of Kalimantan are among the world’s 10 most polluted places alongside Chernobyl in Ukraine, says an annual report by environmental organization Green Cross Switzerland and international nonprofit organization Blacksmith Institute.
The report, The World’s Worst 2013: The Top Ten Toxic Threats, published on Monday, also said that around 200 million people in the world had been exposed to toxic pollution, which could lead to various health risks, including cancer.
Citarum River, which provides 80 percent of surface water to Jakarta and irrigates farms that supply 5 percent of Indonesia’s rice, was among the most polluted due to hazardous industrial waste.
Textile factories in Bandung and Cimahi were found to be the major toxic waster contributors to the river that was also judged the dirtiest river in the world in 2007.
As for Kalimantan, the report said that much of the pollution there had come from the vast small-scale gold mining in the area that utilized mercury in the gold extraction process.
The mercury, which is burned off during the smelting process, released toxic chemicals into the air and waterways, where it might accumulate in fish and water, it said.
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