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Jakarta, Indonesia

Posted on September 18th, 2013

The Citarum River

The RiverBlue team traveled to Indonesia to visit this polluted paradise the Citarum River and to speak with Greenpeace president Kumi Naidoo. The Citarum River used to be known as the Parahyangan, or the the place where the Gods resided, however now it has the reputation of being one of the dirtiest rivers in the world. Unfortunately, the RiverBlue team experienced The Citarum as a giant sewer tainted by toxic waste and filled with garbage.

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Today, millions of people depend on the river and surrounding area for agricultural and domestic use. We watch as a local fisherman hooks a pop can with a stick and flips it into his boat. The state of the Citarum is so bad that former fishermen have taken up a new trade, foraging for drifting refuse which they can sell at a recycler.

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The RiverBlue team met up with some environmental activists who were under contract with Greenpeace trying to locate “anonymous pipes”. These are pipes which flow into rivers from factories not far from the banks of the rivers, sometimes from several factories that share the cost of these pipelines. They are usually buried underground in order to divert the pollution from their factories without anyone knowing. The factories along the river are polluting the water in the Citarum, which provides drinking water and water for irrigating the local agriculture.

The team visited the PT Gistex factory, one of the largest factories on the shore of the Citarum River where we are shocked and saddened by the chemical waste discarded into the river. The team accompanied some members of the Greenpeace crew, who were collecting samples for testing. The wastewater discharged from this facility provides a clear example of the type of hazardous chemicals being discharged every day into the Citarum River affecting the local ecosystem and the livelihoods of millions of people.