Published: December 17, 2015

    10 Shocking Photos of Water Pollution Around the World

    Warning: The following pictures graphically illustrate the seriousness of the world’s water pollution problem. These photos are not only from developing countries or nations with lax pollution control laws, half are from the U.S., prompting an important question: What’s in your water?

    1. San Juan County, Colorado

    Yellow mine water pools at the entrance to Gold King Mine in San Juan County, Colorado. In August of 2015, wastewater breached an earthen dam constructed by U.S. EPA workers and contaminated the Colorado River into New Mexico.

    San Juan County Water Contamination

    2. Refugio State Beach, California

    An otherwise beautiful sunset highlights an oil slick along the coast of Refugio State Beach, California, after a pipe burst on May 19, 2015.

    Refugio State Beach Water Contamination

    3. Buriganga River, Bangladesh

    A mixture of industrial chemical waste, household waste, medical waste, sewage, dead animals, plastic, and oil contaminate the Buriganga River, one of Bangladesh’s most important waterways.

    Buriganga River Water Contamination

    4. Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China

    Over 10,000 dead fish were discovered in a Shenzhen park close to a drain depositing sewage into the small lake.

    Shenzhen Water Contamination

    5. Indonesia

    A child plays amidst the waste and garbage contaminating an Indonesian river.

    Indonesia Water Contamination

    6. Santa Barbara, California

    Two men attempt to save an oil-covered bird after a ruptured pipeline released thousands of gallons of oil along the Santa Barbara coastline in May of 2015.

    Santa Barbara Water Contamination

    7. Qingdao, Shandong Province, China

    Another heart wrenching image from China. Here a child swims in water where pollution sparked an explosive algae bloom.

    Quindong Water Contamination

    8. Fracking Waste Pit, Texas

    The contents of this fracking pit are thought to have contaminated Denton Creek, which provides drinking water for Dallas/Fort Worth.

    Fracking Waste in Texas

    9. Alberta, Canada

    A satellite picture of waste from the Alberta Oilsands water pollution.


    10. Kingston, Tennessee

    The failure of an ash sludge storage cell in 2008 spread 5.4 million cubic yards of the sludge over 300 acres of land and water in Tennessee, causing excessive levels of lead and thallium in local water.

    Kingston, Tennessee Water Pollution

    Water pollution, sadly, is a global problem that no nation including our own has managed to avoid. As concerned citizens, we can lobby for better water protection policies while protecting ourselves from polluted water with point-of-entry filtration systems.

    We can beat water pollution.


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