According to recent estimates by the UN Environment Programme, 80 per cent of global wastewater goes untreated, containing everything from human waste to highly toxic industrial discharges. Globally, 1,000 rivers emit nearly 80 per cent of oceanic plastic pollution, that is one per cent of the world’s rivers mostly located in highly industrialized countries or countries experiencing rapid industrialization such as India, China and Indonesia. During 2022, industrialized countries like the United States and the United Kingdom experienced major pollution crises due to sewage, agricultural run-off and industrial pollution, which in turn led to many lakes and rivers being declared ‘biologically dead’. That is the case, among others, of Lake Erie, and the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in the United States. The Severn, Calder, Usk and Wye rivers in the United Kingdom have also suffered a similar fate. Biological death has also been the fate of major rivers in the global South including the Ganges, Yamuna, Citarum and Yellow Rivers. Underlying the water pollution crisis worldwide are a series of intersecting problems, including industrial agriculture and extractive industries (e.g. mining and the petro-chemicals industry), as well as other related issues such as road run-off, sewage, unregulated plastic production and even unregulated pollution from religious practices (e.g. river cremation).