Indonesia is a tropical country having at least 5,590 rivers and 65,017 tributaries with a total length of the rivers at around 94,573 km and broad river basins reaching 1,512.466 km2.
Like in many other countries, river is a source of water which has a very important function for the lives and livelihoods of the Indonesian people, among other things for irrigation and drinking water.
The Indonesian environmental affairs ministry last month, however, issued shocking data revealing that 52 strategic rivers in Indonesia’s 33 provinces have been polluted.
“Based on the monitoring data, water pollution has occurred in 52 strategic rivers in the country’s 33 provinces. The water quality monitoring is an effort to save the water,” Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Henry Bastaman said .
The ministry has set up 411 monitoring spots in 52 strategic rivers. Based on the 2012 monitoring results, only 0.49 percent of rivers being monitored meet the water quality standard, while 75.25 percent seriously polluted, 22.52 moderately polluted and 1.73 percent slightly polluted.
Water pollution is a serious threat at present and in the future, he stated, adding the country’s water resources are at critical state currently.
“Water scarcity has happened in various regions. Water springs are becoming rare in this tropical nation having high rain precipitation. We have to be cautious about the water issue,” he stated.
Most of the polluted rivers are located on Java Island, and the worst polluted include Ciliwung River in Jakarta and Citarum River (West Java).
The Ciliwung river is one of Indonesia’s 10 major rivers that also include Cisadane, Citanduy, Bengawan Solo, Progo, Kampar, Batanghari, Musi, Barito, and Mamasa/Sadang. Citarum River is considered as one of the national strategic rivers.
However, nearly 70 percent of the rivers are polluted. Among factors contributing to river pollution are: changes in land use; population growth; lack of public awareness of river basin conservation; pollution caused by erosion of critical land, industrial waste; household waste; and agricultural waste.
In the Cisadane River, for example, almost 84 percent of pollutants in the river came from domestic waste coming from households, hotels, restaurants and vehicle workshops.
“Based on a research, 84 percent of water in the Cisadane River is polluted by domestic waste,” Affandi Permana, the head of the Tangerang environmental affairs office, said.