I wish I had a nickel for every moment that I've sat on an overlook and meditated over these majestic rivers. They've been a part of my entire existence in this region yet new 2024 data now shows both Missouri and Illinois have the most polluted rivers in America.

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This brand new ranking from EcoCation lists the most polluted rivers in America. 2 of the top 3 roll by Missouri and Illinois. They say that "Mercury and toxic chemicals" are the big villains that are found in high percentages in their top 15 most polluted rivers list.

Let's first talk about the mighty river that is a part of both Missouri and Illinois and that's obviously the Mississippi River. It's ranked as the 3rd most polluted in America. It's 2,340 miles of mighty water that is also pathetically mighty polluted, too.

What is the most polluted river in America?

The answer is the Ohio River which travels along the southern border of Illinois and empties into the Mississippi River at Cairo, Illinois. The mercury levels in fish found in the Ohio River are unbelievably high according to the report and the blame is on the steel industry that operates along it.

The Ohio River has another notorious factoid and that's the fact that it's also one of the top 25 rivers in the world. Terrible.

I will confess that I've never been much of an environmentalist, but the Mississippi River especially is a special part of my life. To learn that the waters just continue to deteriorate is beyond sad. I've love to think something can be done to change this downward trajectory of these grand rivers, but that's probably naive.

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