On the Banks of the Citarum River

A few days ago, while visiting a banana plantation and checking the goat pen for Mr. Niman, the farmer of the banana plantation, I went to the banks of the Citarum river on the opposite side of Mr. Niman’s house. The Citarum river is one of the largest rivers in West Java and its position in Karawang is at the estuary.

During the rainy season, the water often overflows and floods the rice fields and agricultural areas, including people’s homes. However, the water from the Citarum river is also widely used to support agricultural activities.

Many people use the banks of the Citarum river to create rice fields or to plant crops. Some also use it to set up fish cages and some do simple sand dredging. The land on the banks of the Citarum river is the riverbank area, the boundary area between the overflowing water of the Citarum river and the embankment. The use of this land is actually illegal, but many residents use it for certain purposes rather than leaving it wild and overgrown.

On the side of the Citarum river that I visited yesterday, there was also a location called Eretan, which is a crossing route using boats. Not only people, but sometimes there are also livestock or motorized vehicles that use this crossing service. Usually, this option is taken because crossing the river can reduce travel time compared to taking a longer route to reach the same destination.

It was quite enjoyable to see the exotic banks of the Citarum river as a weekend entertainment.

However, the Citarum river has been facing severe pollution problems for several years. Industrial waste, sewage, and agricultural runoff have caused the river to become one of the most polluted rivers in the world. The water has become contaminated with heavy metals, chemicals, and bacteria, making it unsafe for human and animal consumption.

The pollution problem has not only affected the environment but also the livelihood of people who rely on the river for their daily needs. Fishermen and farmers who use the water for irrigation and aquaculture have suffered from declining yields, while many people living along the river have experienced health problems due to the polluted water.

The Indonesian government has implemented various measures to address the pollution problem, including the establishment of a task force to restore the river’s ecosystem and the closure of some factories and illegal waste dumps. However, it remains a massive challenge to clean up the river, as it involves changing people’s behavior and reducing pollution at the source.

Visiting the banks of the Citarum river was not only an eye-opening experience but also a reminder of the importance of preserving the environment. It’s crucial to work together to protect our natural resources for future generations. We must take action to ensure that the Citarum river, and other waterways around the world, remain clean and safe for all.

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