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Deadly Waters

Citarum: Indonesian river keeps textile industry’s dirty secrets

The Citarum river in Indonesia is known as the world’s most polluted river. In some places, the water turns from murky to black and resembles a bubbling witches’ brew of domestic trash, sewage and industrial waste from hundreds of factories along the Citarum’s banks.

Citarum in West Java is often called the world's most polluted river
The Citarum river in West Java, Indonesia is often called the world’s dirtiest river, contaminated by human detritus; toxic waste from hundreds of textile factories and domestic rubbish.

Locals, aware of the contamination and health risks, continue to use it for drinking and other daily needs, as manufacturers keep dumping toxic chemicals and heavy metals in the river. An RTD crew travels to Indonesia to witness the river’s degradation and meet environmental activists on a mission to stop it.