AbstractPeat with an approximate 60% carbon content collected in the suburbs of Palangka Raya, Indonesia, was carbonized, followed by activation with steam in an electric furnace. The resultant activated carbon (AC) had ca. 900 m2/g of BET surface area and 1000 mg/g of iodine adsorption. This performance implies that this AC can be used as an adsorbent for environmental purification. We had a carbonizing furnace manufactured in Palangka Raya, which did not require electric power. Some AC having 350 mg/g of iodine adsorption was obtained by using this furnace. Although the adsorption ability was much lower than that of commercially available AC, the AC achieved significant decoloration and decrease in chemical oxygen demand of polluted river water. Thus, this article demonstrated the potential of tropical peat soil as a source of AC.