It is estimated that about 45% of America’s rivers are polluted, and 40% are too polluted for fishing or swimming. Americans use over 2.2 billion pounds of pesticides a year, which eventually wash into lakes and rivers. Over 73 different kinds of pesticides have been found in groundwater and eventually ends up in tap water. The Mississippi River carries about 1.5 million metric tons of nitrogen pollution into the Gulf of Mexico each year, creating a coastal dead zone the size of Massachusetts. For a list of America’s list of top 10 most endangered rivers of 2011, click here.
I couldn’t find any stats that give the total number of polluted rivers in the US, but the site below says that 40% of American rivers and streams are too polluted for fishing and swimming. Since there are more than 250,000 rivers in the US, 40% would mean around 100,000 rivers are polluted to that level.
There is also a list of the 50 most polluted rivers in the country here: http://www.ewg.org/node/20399
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