Environment

Scrubbing it clean

The deep rashes on Indonesian rice farmer Yusuf Supriyadi’s skin are a daily reminder of the costs of living next to the “world’s dirtiest river”, which is more a dump for household rubbish, toxic chemicals and faeces. Like Mr. Supriyadi, there are hundreds of other farmers who depend on the toxic river to irrigate their small plots of rice in in West Java. Now faced with a health emergency after decades of failed clean-up efforts, Indonesia is now serious about going ahead with a seemingly impossible goal — to make the Citarum’s water drinkable by 2025 as nearly 30 million people rely on it for irrigation, washing and even drinking water. The figure inclufes about 80% of residents in the capital Jakarta. At nearly 300 kilometres long, the river is also a key source for hydroelectric power for Indonesia’s most populated island, Java, and tourism hotspot Bali. The World Bank also called it the “most polluted river in the world” a decade ago. Research has shown it to have high levels of toxic chemicals which includes 1,000 times more lead than U.S. standard for safe drinking water. In January, Indonesia decided to get tough with factory owners who ignore waste-disposal rules, with CCTV cameras being installed along the river’s banks to scan foroffenders dumping waste under the cover of darkness. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Maritime Affairs said that there will be a holistic approach in the clean-up.
AFP

The deep rashes on Indonesian rice farmer Yusuf Supriyadi’s skin are a daily reminder of the costs of living next to the “world’s dirtiest river”, which is more a dump for household rubbish, toxic chemicals and faeces. Like Mr. Supriyadi, there are hundreds of other farmers who depend on the toxic river to irrigate their small plots of rice in in West Java. Now faced with a health emergency after decades of failed clean-up efforts, Indonesia is now serious about going ahead with a seemingly impossible goal — to make the Citarum’s water drinkable by 2025 as nearly 30 million people rely on it for irrigation, washing and even drinking water. The figure inclufes about 80% of residents in the capital Jakarta. At nearly 300 kilometres long, the river is also a key source for hydroelectric power for Indonesia’s most populated island, Java, and tourism hotspot Bali. The World Bank also called it the “most polluted river in the world” a decade ago. Research has shown it to have high levels of toxic chemicals which includes 1,000 times more lead than U.S. standard for safe drinking water. In January, Indonesia decided to get tough with factory owners who ignore waste-disposal rules, with CCTV cameras being installed along the river’s banks to scan foroffenders dumping waste under the cover of darkness. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Maritime Affairs said that there will be a holistic approach in the clean-up. AFP   | Photo Credit: ADEK BERRY

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The deep rashes on Indonesian rice farmer Yusuf Supriyadi’s skin are a daily reminder of the costs of living next to the “world’s dirtiest river”, which is more a dump for household rubbish, toxic chemicals and faeces. Like Mr. Supriyadi, there are hundreds of other farmers who depend on the toxic river to irrigate their small plots of rice in in West Java. Now faced with a health emergency after decades of failed clean-up efforts, Indonesia is now serious about going ahead with a seemingly impossible goal — to make the Citarum’s water drinkable by 2025 as nearly 30 million people rely on it for irrigation, washing and even drinking water. The figure inclufes about 80% of residents in the capital Jakarta. At nearly 300 kilometres long, the river is also a key source for hydroelectric power for Indonesia’s most populated island, Java, and tourism hotspot Bali. The World Bank also called it the “most polluted river in the world” a decade ago. Research has shown it to have high levels of toxic chemicals which includes 1,000 times more lead than U.S. standard for safe drinking water. In January, Indonesia decided to get tough with factory owners who ignore waste-disposal rules, with CCTV cameras being installed along the river’s banks to scan foroffenders dumping waste under the cover of darkness. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Maritime Affairs said that there will be a holistic approach in the clean-up.

AFP

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 10:44:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/scrubbing-it-clean/article22920787.ece

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