With World Rivers Day taking place on the fourth Sunday of September, it’s time for us to reflect on the significance of rivers. On September 22 this year, the best way to celebrate these Earthly lifelines is by reducing water pollution and although this can’t be done in one day, we can start by raising awareness about ways to restore our rivers to pristine form.
Do you know that about 65% of the United States’ drinking water comes from rivers? Rivers provide us with the ability to generate electricity, water crops, and have potable water. That’s why prosperous cities like Amsterdam, Bangkok, and Berlin were established near rivers.
History of World Rivers Day
When there’s already so much talk about the harmful effects of water pollution, why do we need a special day dedicated to rivers? Because although most of us are aware of the problem, we may not know how we can participate to be part of the solution. Because a large proportion of the Earth’s population relies on fish for sustenance, we need to actively prevent the degradation of rivers as a result of industrial waste and maintain the balance of the underwater ecosystem.
Understanding this, Mark Angelo proposed a global event that celebrated the beauty and necessity of rivers. A worldwide water advocate, Angelo tasted success after organizing the British Columbia, Canada Rivers Day in the 1980s and wanted to replicate the same on a global level. The U.N. responded positively to his idea as it matched with their theme, ‘Water for Life Decade.’
The first World Rivers Day was celebrated in 2005 and all climate change activists showed their solidarity by organizing the very first World Rivers Day event. Today, World Rivers Day is observed in 100 countries around the world where those involved show the community and society at large how they can limit the threats to depleting waterways.
In 2019, a draft to protect the highly polluted but life-giving Yellow River in China through natural resources became formalized on World Rivers Day.
World Rivers Day timeline
Mark Angelo, a nature conservationist, writer, speaker, and teacher is born in Canada.
Some of Angelo’s notable passion projects are the restorations of the heavily damaged Guichon Creek in Burnaby and Still Creek in Vancouver.
For the program, “Riverworld,” Angelo extensively travels to the wildest rivers on Earth like the Yangtze, Amazon, Nile, and Mekong.
After Angelo cleans up the Britannia Creek, salmon reclaim their home turf after almost one hundred years.
World Rivers Day FAQs
How many rivers are there in the world?
There are approximately 165 major rivers in the world.
Which countries have the most rivers?
With over 36 rivers, Russia has the most rivers in the world.
What was the theme for World Rivers Day in 2020?
In 2020, the theme ‘Waterways for our Communities,’ was widely acknowledged as it could draw attention to the state of urban waterways.
How to Observe World Rivers Day
Get in touch with local conservation groups and organizations
Many organizations, such as American Whitewater, American Rivers, and Friends of the Yampa have well-organized stewardship programs. Don’t miss an opportunity to spend a day with like-minded individuals.
Have a river-rafting competition with friends
If you don’t want to take the day too seriously, then you can go on a drive with your friends to the nearest river and set up camp. Take your own or hire a boat and see who rows the width of the river faster.
Host a local clean up drive
Invite your neighbors to a clean-up drive and visit a local river. Alternatively, ask them to donate to organizations that perform dam restoration activities.
5 Fascinating Facts About Rivers That Will Blow Your Mind
The longest river in the world
Over eleven countries share the water resources of the river Nile in Africa, and the entire length of the river is a whopping 4,132 miles.
The deepest river in the world
The Zaire River is about 700 feet deep.
The river of five colors
Due to its distinct colors, the Cano Cristales is also known as the river of five colors.
The shortest river in the world
The shortest river in the world is called the Roe river — it is only 201 feet long and is found in Montana.
A river can make all the difference
Despite being hailed as one of the safest cities in the world, El Paso in Texas is just a river away from Juarez, which is deemed the most dangerous city in the world.
Why World Rivers Day is Important
Rivers are not mere geographical structures
Rivers are the lifelines of human civilizations. A river would be a reason for families to settle in villages, towns, and cities. Whenever a civilization ended, it was often due to extreme droughts.
It’s the best day out for adventure junkies
Anyone who wants to travel out of the city for the weekend and spend their time hiking, rappelling down waterfalls, and swimming in rivers can use World Rivers Day as an opportunity to do so.
It helps conservation efforts
From the air we breathe to the water we drink, we often take these luxuries for granted. Days like this create awareness. The simple act of being able to drink water from rivers will soon be impossible if we don’t act fast.
World Rivers Day dates