Indonesian lives risked on 'world's most polluted' river
SUKAMAJU, Indonesia (AFP) - With dozens of bright green rice paddies, flocks of kites in the sky and children laughing nearby, at first glance the village of Sukamaju in western Java has all the charms of rural Indonesia.
But the idyllic setting is spoiled by a strong stench rising from the Citarum river that flows in the distance, thick with mounds of garbage and plastic bags dumped on its banks.
This immense aquatic rubbish bin winds 297km across the island of Java, cutting through the sprawling Indonesian capital, Jakarta.
Labelled "the most-polluted in the world" by a local commission of government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGO) charged with its clean-up, the river is the only source of water for 15 million Indonesians who live on its banks, despite the risks to health and crops.