World Rivers Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of September – this year, the 27th – to remind us of this. In 1980, celebrated river conservationist Mark Angelo of British Columbia founded an event called BC rivers day, which aimed to celebrate his state's rivers and raise awareness of the issues they face. In 2005 the event was adopted by the United Nations, and today aims to encourage people to work with local conservation groups to help keep their own waterways clean and protected. This could be through stream cleanups, habitat improvement for local wildlife or just through a community get-together by a clean waterway to let people know what we stand to lose.
While such direct efforts are extremely important, and it's great to have an opportunity for people to work with one another to preserve the local area, we must also remember there are ways we can help protect our rivers every day. These are as simple as spending a little less time in the shower every morning, properly disposing of damaging substances rather than just pouring them down the sink or buying organic vegetables to the reduce the profitability of chemical fertilisers. Wider co-operation is needed too – it is a duty of government to ensure that industrial waste is correctly, managed, and sometimes we will need to hold them to account to ensure their jobs are being done properly.
Obviously, the situation is not perfect – conservation issues never are – but here in Worcestershire we are lucky to have some truly beautiful, clear waterways which quite capably fuel our vast agricultural sector. World Rivers Day should, if nothing else, serve as a reminder that this is our privilege, and we should work together to ensure that it remains the case.
Find out more about World Rivers Day and how to get involved HERE