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The Mapocho River flows from the Andes mountains onto the west and divides Chile's capital Santiago in two.
The Mapocho begins at the confluence of the San Francisco River and Molina River near in the Andes. The main tributary of the former is Yerba Loca Creek, which drains the protected area that bears its same name. Molina River is fed by Iver Glacier, which lies on Cerro El Plomo. A few kilometres westward from its source, the Mapocho receives the waters of the Arrayan Creek and enters to the urban area of Santiago.
The last western spurs of the Andes in this area force a change in the direction of the river, making that it begin to flow toward the south. In the vicinity of Cerro San Cristobal and just to the side of the Costanera Center project, the river collects the waters of the Canal San Carlos. From here, the river flows in a generally southwesterly direction to Plaza Baquedano area, which is a focal point of the city and the site where formerly the Mapocho splitted into two branches .
The river then turns northwest. In this portion of its course, some of the most meaningful landmarks of the city, arose along its southern bank. Those include the Parque Forestal, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the Mercado Central and the Estacion Mapocho. Farther northwest, two highway bridges connect the north and south sides of the river, which are part of the two branches of the Autopista Central.
Approximately at the longitude of the summit of Cerro Renca, the Mapocho changes its northwesterly flow to a southwesterly direction. From the southern portion of Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport, the river turns south, to its outfall into the Maipo River.
In March 2007, only 61% of the wastewater in Santiago was treated, though this increased to 71% by the end of the year.
The Mapocho River remains contaminated by household, agricultural and industrial sewage, and by upstream copper-mining waste , being dumped unfiltered into the river. Laws force industry and local governments to process all their wastewater, but are loosely enforced. There are now a number of large wastewater processing and recycling plants under construction. There are ongoing plans to decontaminate the river and make it navigable.
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Mapocho River