“The heavily polluted Citarum River has become a vector for disease for the 25 million people in western Java who rely on it for potable water and irrigation. In the first of three articles, The Jakarta Post’s Tifa Asrianti reports on the river’s deteriorating condition and its public health effects.
Nurhayati, 38, a resident of Sukamaju village in Majalaya, Bandung regency held up her right hand.
Compared to her smooth left hand, the right was wrinkled and had swollen wounds, making it look as if it belonged to a much older person.
“This has been going on for eight months. At night it feels hot and itchy. I can’t concentrate on my work,” Nur said.
She is one of hundreds of people in Sukamaju suffering from the same symptoms.
While medication obtained from a local health community center has helped other residents with the same malady, the problem will return if the residents continue to draw water from the river.
Citarum River traverses 269 kilometers through nine regencies and three cities. Of the 25 million people who depend on the river, 10 million live along its banks, split evenly between urban and rural residents.
There are significant agricultural activities along the riverbanks, interspersed with scattered industrial clusters.
Pollution in Citarum River raises health and food security issues, as residents living along its banks use water from the river for their daily needs.”
Read more: Jakarta Post