I am not an environmentalist, but I do love Missouri's many rivers. That's why it makes me sad to be the messenger that a new 2024 ranking has one of the mightiest that also happens to be one of the most polluted in America and there's no realistic way to save it now.

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I'll give you two guesses, but you'll likely only need one to figure out which waterway I'm talking about. Missouri is not the only home of this mighty river as it is shared by 9 other states that it churns by along its 2,350 mile route. I am of course talking about the Mississippi River which is now the 3rd most polluted in America. That's according to a new ranking for 2024 just shared by Econation.

Latest samples show ample amounts of pesticides, heavy metals and other toxic chemicals that have brought the Mississippi River to a crisis point. What can be done to turn the fate of Missouri's (and America's) most famous river around? Realistically, I don't believe anything can be done. Call me a pessimist if you will, but I can't imagine any politician or entity that can possibly stop the amount of harmful things being dumped into the river...constantly.

Friends of the Mississippi River are at least trying. They advocate using zero-phosphorus fertilizer in yards and encourage those near the river to use native plants in their gardens to attract natural birds and insects to help the ecosystem. I appreciate their enthusiasm, but I fear it's simply never going to be enough.

Pollution is not the only problem with the Mississippi River as it hit historic low levels a year ago due to the ongoing drought that has caused big problems for Missouri's farmers, too.

During my teenage years (yes, WAY long ago), I would frequently go to Riverview Park and sit on the overlooks watching the Mississippi River to think about life. It gave me peace then and it still does now. However, I believe eventually there will be a generation that will not have the joy of enjoying this river like I have. Someone please prove me wrong and make one of America's most polluted rivers great again.

This Hidden Cabin Airbnb Floats on the Mississippi River

Gallery Credit: Entire place hosted by Samantha, Airbnb

$1+ Million Dollar Mansion on Bluff Overlooking Mississippi

Gallery Credit: Jason Cleveland/Phillip Brown, Trophy Properties & Auction, Realtor.com

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