26th September 2021
World Rivers Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of September every year to increase public awareness about rivers and to encourage their conservation. The day celebrates Earth’s waterways, in which over 60 countries participate every year.Today, rivers face an enormous challenge posed by humans due to climate change, rapid urbanisation.
History of World Rivers Day
In 2005, Mark Angelo, an internationally-celebrated river conservationist, approached the United Nations during its Water for Life campaign — a decade-long initiative to raise awareness about threatened water resources across the planet. Angelo advocated for an annual World Rivers Day to help anchor the campaign.World Rivers Day was seen by agencies of the United Nations as a good bet for the aims of the World for Life decade and other proposals.
The first World Rivers Day was celebrated in over a dozen countries. Now, the annual event is marked by celebrations in more than 60 countries, and the participation of millions of people.
Importance of rivers
Rivers form an integral part of the environment. However, rapid urbanisation, industrialisation, and an increasing human population have caused tremendous damage to rivers. Also, there are many communities whose survival, livelihood depend on rivers.
Who is Mark Angelo?
Mark Angelo is a world renowned river conservation activist. He hails from Burnaby, British Columbia, in Canada. Angelo is the founder and Chair of BC Rivers Day and World Rivers Day. He is also Chair Emeritus of the Rivers Institute at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Angelo has travelled close to 1,000 rivers around the world, perhaps more than anyone else in the world. His programme, ‘Riverworld’, was a hit in North America and the show’s website had more than 40 million visits. Mark has won numerous awards for his contribution towards the conservation of rivers. He received the Order of British Columbia and Order of Canada, which is the highest honour in Canada. He has also won the United Nation’s Stewardship Award and the National River Conservation Award. According to Mark Angelo, “Rivers are the arteries of our planet; they are lifelines in the truest sense”.