andreacarrubba
Bojongsoang village, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
 - Recent research has found an alarming level of toxic substances in the Citarum River, with values ​​1000 times higher than the US standards for water safety. The use of its waters is extremely risky for the lives of the 30 million people.

1 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  1 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Bojongsoang village, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019

Recent research has found an alarming level of toxic substances in the Citarum River, with values ​​1000 times higher than the US standards for water safety. The use of its waters is extremely risky for the lives of the 30 million people.

Sindang Sari village, Baleendah Sub-District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
 - Mr. Agus, 49, is a “scavenger", a collector of recyclable material. Every day he sails with his boat along the Citarum River and his job is to find and recover waste for resale. 
His monthly salary is around 1500000 indonesian rupees, just over 100 US dollars.
2 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  2 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Sindang Sari village, Baleendah Sub-District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019

Mr. Agus, 49, is a “scavenger", a collector of recyclable material. Every day he sails with his boat along the Citarum River and his job is to find and recover waste for resale. 
His monthly salary is around 1500000 indonesian rupees, just over 100 US dollars.
Babakan Leuwi village, Dayeuh Kolot Sub-District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
 - The government’s cleaning operation of the Citarum consists essentially in taking the sediments from the bottom of the river with an excavator and positioning them along the banks; forbidding factories from discharging processing residues without purifying them and educating citizens not to throw household waste into the river.
3 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  3 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Babakan Leuwi village, Dayeuh Kolot Sub-District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019

The government’s cleaning operation of the Citarum consists essentially in taking the sediments from the bottom of the river with an excavator and positioning them along the banks; forbidding factories from discharging processing residues without purifying them and educating citizens not to throw household waste into the river.
Dayeuhkolot, Dayeuhkolot District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
 - A child plays with his kite on a mountain of sediments extracted from the bottom of the Citarum. The slum of the village of Dayeuhkolot, a very poor area near the river, is subject to frequent flooding.

4 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  4 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Dayeuhkolot, Dayeuhkolot District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019

A child plays with his kite on a mountain of sediments extracted from the bottom of the Citarum. The slum of the village of Dayeuhkolot, a very poor area near the river, is subject to frequent flooding.

Babakan Leuwi Bandung village, Dayeuh Kolot Sub-District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019 - The sediments reached the roofs of the houses and the first two floors of the building were completely submerged. People walking along the river banks, walk up to the roofs.

5 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  5 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Babakan Leuwi Bandung village, Dayeuh Kolot Sub-District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
The sediments reached the roofs of the houses and the first two floors of the building were completely submerged. People walking along the river banks, walk up to the roofs.

Cipatik Area, Cihampelas District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
 - Near the village of Cipatik the course of the Citarum River is completely covered by tons and tons of waste, on the surface and as many on the riverbed, which make motorized sailing impossible and even that of small manual rowing boats difficult.

6 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  6 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Cipatik Area, Cihampelas District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019

Near the village of Cipatik the course of the Citarum River is completely covered by tons and tons of waste, on the surface and as many on the riverbed, which make motorized sailing impossible and even that of small manual rowing boats difficult.

Citapen Area, Cihampelas District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019 - A small fish trap is used by a bamboo platform along the river bank. The garbage that floats on the water of the river, besides being a source of pollution, makes fishing difficult. The fishermen, having no alternative to survival, build floating fences and fish in the garbage.

7 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  7 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Citapen Area, Cihampelas District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
A small fish trap is used by a bamboo platform along the river bank. The garbage that floats on the water of the river, besides being a source of pollution, makes fishing difficult. The fishermen, having no alternative to survival, build floating fences and fish in the garbage.

Citapen Area, Cihampelas District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019 - Researchers at the Blacksmith Institute have found in the Citarum River levels of lead equal to a thousand times US standards. Also aluminum, manganese and iron are 4 times higher than allowed. The fish, grown in toxic waste and rich in heavy metals, is also full of microplastics: micro-particles that accumulate in the body and cause long-term damage.

8 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  8 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Citapen Area, Cihampelas District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
Researchers at the Blacksmith Institute have found in the Citarum River levels of lead equal to a thousand times US standards. Also aluminum, manganese and iron are 4 times higher than allowed. The fish, grown in toxic waste and rich in heavy metals, is also full of microplastics: micro-particles that accumulate in the body and cause long-term damage.

Sindang Sari village, Baleendah Sub-District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
 - The recyclable materials collected among the waste by scavengers are sold, by weight and divided by type, to a buyer.


9 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  9 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Sindang Sari village, Baleendah Sub-District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019

The recyclable materials collected among the waste by scavengers are sold, by weight and divided by type, to a buyer.


Rancamanyar Area, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019 - Mr. Oha, 70, has his whole body covered with dermatitis. He lives a few meters from the Citarum River and for 36 years collect the grass by the river to feed the goats. He is on therapy and is using a cortisone cream and has been under treatment for 3 years. He has been visited 25 times by 8 different doctors, but unable to move away from the river he cannot heal.

10 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  10 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Rancamanyar Area, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
Mr. Oha, 70, has his whole body covered with dermatitis. He lives a few meters from the Citarum River and for 36 years collect the grass by the river to feed the goats. He is on therapy and is using a cortisone cream and has been under treatment for 3 years. He has been visited 25 times by 8 different doctors, but unable to move away from the river he cannot heal.

Sindang Sari village, Baleendah Sub-District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
 - Mr. Iwan, 34, during his work as a “scavenger" collects recyclable material in the Citarum River, near some sewer drains coming from houses along the river bank. 

11 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  11 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Sindang Sari village, Baleendah Sub-District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019

Mr. Iwan, 34, during his work as a “scavenger" collects recyclable material in the Citarum River, near some sewer drains coming from houses along the river bank. 

Cisanti Lake, Tarumaya Village, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
 - Cisanti Lake has seven springs from which the Citarum River originates. The springs, considered sacred by the population, were secret. The high pollution of the area was a source of disease for the inhabitants but, according to the Indonesian army, after their cleaning operation today its water is clean.

12 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  12 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Cisanti Lake, Tarumaya Village, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019

Cisanti Lake has seven springs from which the Citarum River originates. The springs, considered sacred by the population, were secret. The high pollution of the area was a source of disease for the inhabitants but, according to the Indonesian army, after their cleaning operation today its water is clean.

Bojongsari,  Bojongsoang District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019 - The natural course of the Citarum river was modified in 1989 in a single broader straight course. This solved the problem of flooding in other areas but made it worse in Dayeuhkolot Distric. According to the GPP-NKRI the old Citarum should be used, highlighted in blue, to regulate the floods of the river through a weir and avoid flooding.

13 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  13 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Bojongsari, Bojongsoang District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
The natural course of the Citarum river was modified in 1989 in a single broader straight course. This solved the problem of flooding in other areas but made it worse in Dayeuhkolot Distric. According to the GPP-NKRI the old Citarum should be used, highlighted in blue, to regulate the floods of the river through a weir and avoid flooding.

Rancamanyar Area, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019 - The river water, used by the industries of the area and for irrigation, leaves the river almost dry. The bottom is covered with rubbish and sediment, the flowing water is almost black and the mud, in its interior, is completely black due to the decomposition of the garbage and the toxic waste discharged by the textile factories.

14 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  14 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Rancamanyar Area, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
The river water, used by the industries of the area and for irrigation, leaves the river almost dry. The bottom is covered with rubbish and sediment, the flowing water is almost black and the mud, in its interior, is completely black due to the decomposition of the garbage and the toxic waste discharged by the textile factories.

Dayeuhkolot, Dayeuhkolot District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019 - The water extracted from the drains of the city of Dayeuhkolot is used by the inhabitants of the slum to wash and make food. At least one in four people complains of dermatitis and problems with the gastric system. For now we only know the short-term effects of pollution, for others we will have to wait.

15 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  15 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Dayeuhkolot, Dayeuhkolot District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
The water extracted from the drains of the city of Dayeuhkolot is used by the inhabitants of the slum to wash and make food. At least one in four people complains of dermatitis and problems with the gastric system. For now we only know the short-term effects of pollution, for others we will have to wait.

Dayeuhkolot, Dayeuhkolot District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
 - An inhabitant of the slum in the village of Dayeuhkolot, shows his home, victim of constant flooding. The signs on the wall highlight the level reached by the water that often exceeded two meters.
16 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  16 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Dayeuhkolot, Dayeuhkolot District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019

An inhabitant of the slum in the village of Dayeuhkolot, shows his home, victim of constant flooding. The signs on the wall highlight the level reached by the water that often exceeded two meters.
Ciwalengke village, Majalaya District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
 - Mrs. Halimah, 47, has three children and she has been a widow for 4 years. Her husband, after suffering from years of dermatitis, died at the age of 46, killed by tuberculosis. She is very weak and emaciated and with the strong pollution and her state of malnutrition suffers from chronic bronchitis. The doctor told her not to use the river water and the products derived from them for years, but having no alternative, she can not change lifestyle.

17 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  17 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Ciwalengke village, Majalaya District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019

Mrs. Halimah, 47, has three children and she has been a widow for 4 years. Her husband, after suffering from years of dermatitis, died at the age of 46, killed by tuberculosis. She is very weak and emaciated and with the strong pollution and her state of malnutrition suffers from chronic bronchitis. The doctor told her not to use the river water and the products derived from them for years, but having no alternative, she can not change lifestyle.

Cisanti Lake, Tarumaya Village, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019 - Colonel Inget Barus is the head of sector 1 in the “Citarum Harum" cleaning operation. The operation consists in the reforestation of the hills surrounding the Cisanti Lake, in the extraction of waste and it has reduced the illegal discharges of toxic waste by textile factories. The industries, however, continue to dump during the night or through hidden channels and there are no real water cleaning projects and its quality continues to be very bad.


18 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  18 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Cisanti Lake, Tarumaya Village, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
Colonel Inget Barus is the head of sector 1 in the “Citarum Harum" cleaning operation. The operation consists in the reforestation of the hills surrounding the Cisanti Lake, in the extraction of waste and it has reduced the illegal discharges of toxic waste by textile factories. The industries, however, continue to dump during the night or through hidden channels and there are no real water cleaning projects and its quality continues to be very bad.


Dayeuhkolot Sub-District, Bandung Regency, Indonesia, West Jawa, June 2019 - The Citarum River is about 200 miles long and it is a key source for the textile factories, for hydroelectric power, for irrigate the fields, for personal hygiene and as drinking water.
19 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  19 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Dayeuhkolot Sub-District, Bandung Regency, Indonesia, West Jawa, June 2019
The Citarum River is about 200 miles long and it is a key source for the textile factories, for hydroelectric power, for irrigate the fields, for personal hygiene and as drinking water.
Babakan Leuwi village, Dayeuh Kolot Sub-District / Baleendah, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
 - The village of Babakan Leuwi and its most recent houses illegally built on sediments deposited during the last cleaning, is located directly on the Citarum river in front of a large industrial sector and a municipal water reserve. The inhabitants, without running water and sewage system, use the polluted water of the river as a water source and also to discharge the sewage.

20 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  20 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Babakan Leuwi village, Dayeuh Kolot Sub-District / Baleendah, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019

The village of Babakan Leuwi and its most recent houses illegally built on sediments deposited during the last cleaning, is located directly on the Citarum river in front of a large industrial sector and a municipal water reserve. The inhabitants, without running water and sewage system, use the polluted water of the river as a water source and also to discharge the sewage.

Baleendah, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019 - Husband and wife in their tiny house, of about 4 square meters, a few steps from the Citarum River. Their previous home was swept away by the last great flood and they are too poor to buy a new one and too old and powerless to build an abusive one.

21 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  21 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Baleendah, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
Husband and wife in their tiny house, of about 4 square meters, a few steps from the Citarum River. Their previous home was swept away by the last great flood and they are too poor to buy a new one and too old and powerless to build an abusive one.

Majalaya Area, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
 - In the industrial area of ​​Majalya, along the course of a canal in a hidden and inaccessible area, a textile factory is discharging the waste water from the production process directly into the river.
22 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  22 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Majalaya Area, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019

In the industrial area of ​​Majalya, along the course of a canal in a hidden and inaccessible area, a textile factory is discharging the waste water from the production process directly into the river.
Majalaya Area, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
 - Mr. Alit, an environmental activist from Badega Lingkungan, during a project “Citarum water patrol” is patrolling a canal in the industrial area to find any hidden discharges. The highly polluted water in which it walks, cloudy and very dark, prevents good vision and causes even after a first contact, itching and rashes.

23 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  23 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Majalaya Area, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019

Mr. Alit, an environmental activist from Badega Lingkungan, during a project “Citarum water patrol” is patrolling a canal in the industrial area to find any hidden discharges. The highly polluted water in which it walks, cloudy and very dark, prevents good vision and causes even after a first contact, itching and rashes.

Ciwalengke village, Majalaya District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019 - The water from the wells of the village of Ciwalengke comes from the irrigation canals of the cultivated fields and from the drains of the nearby textile factories. Highly polluted, the water can change its color which can be yellow, blue, red, gray or black depending on the industrial process.
24 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  24 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Ciwalengke village, Majalaya District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
The water from the wells of the village of Ciwalengke comes from the irrigation canals of the cultivated fields and from the drains of the nearby textile factories. Highly polluted, the water can change its color which can be yellow, blue, red, gray or black depending on the industrial process.
Sukamaju village, Majalaya District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
 - The production process of textile industries, from production to dyeing, requires enormous quantities of water. In the Majalaya area, hundreds of coal-fired textile factories use all the water available which, once discharged, is used by farmers to irrigate the cultivated fields.

25 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  25 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Sukamaju village, Majalaya District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019

The production process of textile industries, from production to dyeing, requires enormous quantities of water. In the Majalaya area, hundreds of coal-fired textile factories use all the water available which, once discharged, is used by farmers to irrigate the cultivated fields.

Cikuya Area, Margaasih District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019 - The last terrace cultivated before the Citarum River uses polluted water, full of industrial and domestic waste, coming from a nearby town which, step by step, it has also been enriched by pesticides and chemical fertilizers used by other farmers who have the higher crops.

26 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  26 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Cikuya Area, Margaasih District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
The last terrace cultivated before the Citarum River uses polluted water, full of industrial and domestic waste, coming from a nearby town which, step by step, it has also been enriched by pesticides and chemical fertilizers used by other farmers who have the higher crops.

 Cikuya Area, Margaasih District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019 - The polluted water that coming from the nearby city, full of detergents and industrial waste, passes through the cultivated terraces and reaches the Citarum River through a system of pipes.


27 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  27 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Cikuya Area, Margaasih District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
The polluted water that coming from the nearby city, full of detergents and industrial waste, passes through the cultivated terraces and reaches the Citarum River through a system of pipes.


Cikuya Area, Margaasih District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
 - A farmer is immersed in the water he uses to irrigate his crops. The water comes from the drainage ducts of the houses of the nearby village and is full of detergents and soaps. At the end of the terraces cultivated behind him, the water reaches the Citarum River.
28 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  28 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Cikuya Area, Margaasih District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019

A farmer is immersed in the water he uses to irrigate his crops. The water comes from the drainage ducts of the houses of the nearby village and is full of detergents and soaps. At the end of the terraces cultivated behind him, the water reaches the Citarum River.
Babakan Leuwi Bandung village, Dayeuh Kolot Sub-District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
 - The garbage collected in sector 6 is loaded manually and burned in two furnaces without filters. The sector, about 7 miles long, includes 11 villages and there are 9 tributaries from which the waste reaches the Citarum.

29 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  29 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Babakan Leuwi Bandung village, Dayeuh Kolot Sub-District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019

The garbage collected in sector 6 is loaded manually and burned in two furnaces without filters. The sector, about 7 miles long, includes 11 villages and there are 9 tributaries from which the waste reaches the Citarum.

Oxbow Bojongsoang, Bojongsoang District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
 - Colonel Yuri Zanibar is the head of the sector 6. The cleaning project is currently underway and will last until 2024. For the first 5 months, 200 people worked in 11 teams, then reduced to 80 and each team is composed of both from civilians to military.
30 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  30 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Oxbow Bojongsoang, Bojongsoang District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019

Colonel Yuri Zanibar is the head of the sector 6. The cleaning project is currently underway and will last until 2024. For the first 5 months, 200 people worked in 11 teams, then reduced to 80 and each team is composed of both from civilians to military.
Babakan Leuwi Bandung village, Dayeuh Kolot Sub-District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019
 - some children from the village of Babakan, built on the banks of the Citarum in front of industrial complexes and often subject to flooding, coexist with mountains of waste that they often set on fire for fun or simply to dispose of.
31 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  31 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Babakan Leuwi Bandung village, Dayeuh Kolot Sub-District, Bandung Regency, West Jawa, Indonesia, June 2019

some children from the village of Babakan, built on the banks of the Citarum in front of industrial complexes and often subject to flooding, coexist with mountains of waste that they often set on fire for fun or simply to dispose of.
Cihampelas, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
 - Next to the mosque of the village, a few meters from the Bening Saguling Green Community, bags filled with recyclable plastic are crammed in a corner of the square.

32 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  32 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Cihampelas, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019

Next to the mosque of the village, a few meters from the Bening Saguling Green Community, bags filled with recyclable plastic are crammed in a corner of the square.

Dayeuhkolot, Dayeuhkolot District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019 - The garbage from the Dayeuhkolot slum is regularly burned in a hole adjacent to the village. Without any differentiation and any kind of filter, the carcinogenic smoke full of dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons envelops roads and houses.

33 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  33 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Dayeuhkolot, Dayeuhkolot District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
The garbage from the Dayeuhkolot slum is regularly burned in a hole adjacent to the village. Without any differentiation and any kind of filter, the carcinogenic smoke full of dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons envelops roads and houses.

Ciwalengke village, Majalaya District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019 - A child plays along one of the drains between a large textile factory and the village of Ciwalengke. The factories use large quantities of water in their production processes and release tons of toxic waste into the waters of drains that discharge into the earth or directly in the rivers.


34 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  34 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Ciwalengke village, Majalaya District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
A child plays along one of the drains between a large textile factory and the village of Ciwalengke. The factories use large quantities of water in their production processes and release tons of toxic waste into the waters of drains that discharge into the earth or directly in the rivers.


Sukamaju village, Majalaya District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
 - The textile industries use all the water available in the area, directly diverting the course of rivers and tributaries, within their perimeter. The people of the surrounding villages, without water, are forced to line up outside the walls of the factory and fill the barrels with waste water from the factory. Each family can take two kegs a day.

35 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  35 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Sukamaju village, Majalaya District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019

The textile industries use all the water available in the area, directly diverting the course of rivers and tributaries, within their perimeter. The people of the surrounding villages, without water, are forced to line up outside the walls of the factory and fill the barrels with waste water from the factory. Each family can take two kegs a day.

Ciwalengke village, Majalaya District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
 - Waste water from the textile factories and from the city reaches Ciwalengke village. After passing through the drains and canals between the dwellings, it reaches a large tank, where the inhabitants wash clothes, dishes and take water for personal hygiene.

36 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  36 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Ciwalengke village, Majalaya District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019

Waste water from the textile factories and from the city reaches Ciwalengke village. After passing through the drains and canals between the dwellings, it reaches a large tank, where the inhabitants wash clothes, dishes and take water for personal hygiene.

Sukamaju village, Majalaya District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
 - The village of Sukamaju uses waste water from the nearby textile factory for personal hygiene and food preparation. Many suffer from dermatitis and diseases of the gastro-intestinal tract due to the use of heavily polluted water.
37 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  37 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Sukamaju village, Majalaya District, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019

The village of Sukamaju uses waste water from the nearby textile factory for personal hygiene and food preparation. Many suffer from dermatitis and diseases of the gastro-intestinal tract due to the use of heavily polluted water.
Cihampelas, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019
 - A cemetery a few meters from the Citarum River, in the middle of an orchard. Some researches, say environmentalists, estimate that at least 50,000 deaths a year are caused by the very bad  environmental conditions in which is the area adjacent to the Citarum river. Furthermore, the average life expectancy does not exceed 60 years of age.


38 / 38 ◄   ► ◄  38 / 38  ► pause play enlarge slideshowhd
Cihampelas, Bandung Regency, West Java, Indonesia, June 2019

A cemetery a few meters from the Citarum River, in the middle of an orchard. Some researches, say environmentalists, estimate that at least 50,000 deaths a year are caused by the very bad environmental conditions in which is the area adjacent to the Citarum river. Furthermore, the average life expectancy does not exceed 60 years of age.



To live and die along the Citarum: the most polluted river in the world

Nicknamed “the most polluted river in the world” by the World Bank, the Citarum with its almost 200 miles is the most important river in West Java, Indonesia. 

Although its water is dark, dense and cloudy, it is the primary source of water for about 30 million people living in the area between Jakarta, the Indonesian capital and Bandung, the heart of the country's industrial area. 
In the last 50 years a very bad management of trash and domestic waste and the lack of control over the discharges of the companies along the river have created a real environmental disaster. 

A report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has documented an extensive pollution and identified faecal coliform bacteria, probably derived from human agricultural sewage and fertilizers, up to 5,000 times the permitted level. About 9 million people, in fact, who live in rural areas and in small villages in close contact with the river, have always discharged the sewage of their homes into the river and, having no place to throw away the rubbish correctly, they have always burned or thrown into the river. 

But the most alarming figure comes from a study conducted by the Blacksmith Institute that found lead levels above 1,000 times the USEPA drinking water standard and levels well above the international average of other heavy metals like aluminum, iron and manganese. 

This is because in the area there are over 2000 companies - mostly textile factories built near the river because they need large quantities of water for their production - which in recent years have been left to discharge enormous quantities of chemical waste directly into the river.

Mountains of sediments, extracted from the bottom of the River, are piled on the banks and highlight the borders of the Citarum. There are thousands of them living on these new nobody's lands, on the portions of land and waste that have created new uninhabited areas on the banks of the river. Unemployed young people, families displaced by the frequent and disastrous floods or scavengers, the very poor waste collectors who survive by selling recyclable garbage: these are the majority of the slum dwellers near the polluted industrial areas near the river and the lands, of sediments and waste, along the banks of the Citarum.

In several of them, forced to survive in one of the most polluted areas of the world, they suffer from dermatitis, contact rashes, intestinal problems; but also delays in child development, renal failure, chronic bronchitis and a significant incidence of tumors.

The luckiest use waste water from the local industries, which draw water directly from the river or aquifers even at a depth of 150 meters and, after partially purifying it, make it available for neighboring villages. 

The others use waste and contaminated water from other villages, or directly from Citarum, to wash themselves and their clothes or to drink water and to prepare food. Also through the cultivation - mostly of rice, which are irrigated with contaminated water coming from factories and villages or from the Citarum river and its tributaries - elements harmful to the human body are daily ingested by the inhabitants of West Java and their animals who once consumed, they become part of the food chain. 

Even the catch, contaminated and rich in heavy metals and microplastics, is sold and consumed in the areas adjacent to the river as on the tables of Jakarta and fishing in fact, although the fish species have decreased by 60% since 2008, it is still widely practiced throughout the river. 

The Indonesian government, after countless complaints about the state of the river water including international bodies such as Greenpeace, it has allocated a seven-year cleaning program for the Citarum, with the ambitious final goal of making Citarum's water drinkable by 2025.

The program is also supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which in 2009 had already committed to providing $ 500 million to finance the rehabilitation of the Citarum. The impressive cleaning operation consists in combating the erosion of the surrounding mountains through reforestation; to extract waste and sediments from the bottom and on the surface of the river with large excavators and to unload them on the banks of the river; to foribid factories from discharging wastewater from production processes until after filtration and purification and environmental education projects.
According to the environmental activists of the local NGOs, despite the bans many factories continue undisturbed to discharge their waste thanks to hidden drain pipes and that sometimes, even if discovered, are not obstructed due to the strong corruption that is rampant in the country. 

However recent environmental awareness campaigns are underway by the government and some environmental groups and a new wind seems to be blowing in Indonesia.

But at least for now, every day along the area of ​​the Citarum River, millions of people are still poisoned by coal-fired textile factories and by dumps of burnt waste without filters that release incredible amounts of dioxin and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the air; from the water of a river that in the past crossed an environment considered a paradise of nature and that now, according to the environmental activists, it kills at least 50,000 people a year due to diseases caused by incredible pollution.
To walk therefore, today, on the mountains of rubbish abandoned along the Citarum through the thick banks of poisonous smoke or to sail aboard the small boats of the scafangers in floating dumps; certainly it makes you feel more than in a paradise, in a damned hell: son of selfishness and short-sighted ignorance of men.
Share
Link
https://www.andreacarrubba.com/to_live_and_die_along_the_citarum_the_most_polluted_river_in_the_world-p19808
CLOSE
loading