Pathogen Pollution Plagues About 1/3 of Rivers in Latin America, Africa, and Asia

Latin American, African, and Asian rivers are threatened by an onslaught of pathogen pollution from poor household wastewater management and by organic pollution attributed to agricultural and industrial runoff. River pollution is a growing problem for these three regions. The numbers are concerning:

Pathogen Pollution Plagues in Rivers   ©The Earth & I
  • Severe pathogen pollution plagues about 1/3 of all rivers in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

  • Pathogen pollution is estimated to affect about 1/4 of Latin American rivers, from 10 to 25% of African rivers and about 1/3 to 1/2 of Asian rivers.

  • Approximately 8 to 25 million people are in danger of the effects of river pathogen pollution in Latin America, 32 to 164 million in Africa and 31 to 134 million in Asia.

  • Fecal coliform bacteria concentrations were on the rise between 1990 and 2010 in nearly 2/3 of all rivers in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

  • Severe organic pollution affects around 1/7 of all river stretches in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

  • In some developing nations, inland fishing accounts for more than 50% of the animal protein production in that country.

  • Altogether, inland fishing in developing countries employs 21 million fishers and about 38 million associated jobs.

  • Moderate to severe salinity pollution affects around 10% of all river stretches in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

– Source: UN Environment Programme


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