Spending a day by or on the water is one of the best ways to take in the splendor the Midwest has to offer. However, you may think twice about doing a cannonball to cool off in this river, following EcoCation's annual release of the 15 Most Polluted Rivers in the US list.

Related: The Biggest Fish Ever Caught in a Michigan Inland Lake

River pollution is a huge problem in the United States and across the globe. Shipping lanes on major rivers are often home to manufacturing plants that pour hazardous chemicals into the flowing waters.

Industrial Pollution Blamed for Unsafe Mercury Levels in Ohio Fish Population

The Country's Most Polluted River Flows Through Ohio

Much like its neighboring Midwest states, Ohio is home to a large manufacturing base. The concentration of plants lining its shores and a recent chemical spill have led EcoCation to declare that the Ohio River, is not only the most polluted in the United States, but it also ranks among the most contaminated flowing water bodies in the world

The Ohio River, a lifeline for six states, battles a relentless foe: industrial pollution. It’s a river tainted by the fingerprints of industries that have left their mark for decades. AK Steel Corporation, among others, plays a prominent role in this pollution saga, pushing mercury levels in fish to alarming heights.

Being ranked among the nation's filthiest isn't new for the Ohio River, as it was ranked second in last year's ranking.

The Environmental Impact of Industrial Pollution on the Ohio River

The Country's Most Polluted River Flows Through Ohio

What type of impact does this extreme pollution have on the river and its surrounding ecosystem? According to EcoCation, it may be worse than you think,

The repercussions are severe, affecting not just the environment but the health of those who depend on this vast waterway. It’s a relentless battle to cleanse the Ohio River, where the past and present clash in a struggle for its future.

High mercury levels are not only toxic to humans but also to the contaminated fish and those that prey upon them. Chemicals eventually seep into the soil and have a detrimental impact on surrounding vegetation, further upsetting the ecosystem and food chain. While no easy solution is in sight, doing your part to keep pollutants out of rivers is a good start.

Old Cars Sunk at Bottom of Detroit River

A Few Things Found in the Grand River and Detroit River

Sunken Items in the St. Clair River