September 24 marks World Rivers Day – how do we build water awareness?

Światowy Dzień Rzek

Rivers are an extremely important part of maintaining the entire ecosystem. They prevent drought, provide habitat for many species of animals and plants, and perform economic and tourist functions. World Rivers Day has been celebrated every last Sunday in September since 2005. On this occasion, it is worth remembering why rivers are a key part of our nature and economy. What gift can we give rivers on their feast day?

World Rivers Day – what is the origin of the holiday?

United Nations in 2005. has designated every last Sunday in September as World Rivers Day. This year it falls on September 24. The establishment of this holiday arose from a social need to honor the activities of Canadian writer and traveler Mark Angelo. Since the 1980s. The last century has been building public awareness of the importance of rivers. World Rivers Day is a variety of smaller and larger local events involving several million people in more than 60 countries. Most often, these are social campaigns and educational actions on the impact of rivers on the entire ecosystem and human activities. It also stresses the need to manage river resources wisely, protecting them from pollution and regulating the riverbeds too far.

World Rivers Day – the river is life

World Rivers Day is a reminder of the great importance of rivers to nature. Naturalists refer to them as the “blood system of nature,” because the number of functions they perform for humans, animals and plants is enormous. For numerous species of fauna, the river, its banks and floodplains are home, a place to breed and forage for food. They are also safe migration corridors for fish, birds and mammals. For plants, rivers are primarily life-giving water. Thanks to the specific soil conditions in the rivers and on their banks, numerous plant species grow there, forming an important and necessary part of the ecosystem. These include. Hornwort, water lash, varieties of calamus, swamp lash and various types of sedges.

Rivers also perform key functions for the landscape – they are the natural “sculptor” of the land, which, with the help of flowing water, creates such impressive forms as deltas, canyons and gorges. World Rivers Day is a fantastic opportunity to marvel at the beauty they create. Also of great importance is what the river water carries with its current – flowing from mountainous areas to lowland areas, it transports sediments and minerals, which has a very big impact on the soils in the river valleys.

It is also worth noting that the riverbanks have a distinctive microclimate. Evaporating water affects the temperature and provides moisture to nearby vegetation.

Rivers are also natural water stores – they store excess water during heavy rains and release it into groundwater during droughts.

World Rivers Day – the river is development

Just look at the location and history of major Polish cities. One or more rivers flow through the largest and most prosperous ones. One example is Wrocław, which is growing on the banks of the Oder, Sleza, Olawa, Bystrzyca and Widawa rivers. Szczecin, Gdansk and Bydgoszcz have a similar situation. On the queen of Polish rivers, the Vistula River, lie, among others. Torun, Warsaw, Plock or Krakow. In both past and present times, rivers have been economic drivers, including through their ability to carry out navigation, transport goods or through their tourism and recreational properties. They also enable the production of electricity through water drops.

World Rivers Day – what gift can we give rivers on their holiday?

Currently, all pro-environmental organizations concerned with river welfare are sounding the alarm that the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Inland Navigation’s proposed river management policy will have a very destructive impact on our river systems. There is still insufficient protection of rivers, as evidenced, for example, by the situation on the Oder. Let’s remember this not only on World Rivers Day , but also on a daily basis. Numerous environmental organizations warn of the mismanagement practiced so far by Western European countries. In terms of the degree of artificial regulation of rivers, Poland compares quite well with Europe, so the further degradation of domestic river systems should not be allowed.

World Rivers Day encourages education and increased knowledge of river-related topics. It is worth going to the websites of organizations that protect rivers and read about good practices in their management. Also, we ourselves can give the Polish rivers a gift of responsible use of their benefits. Such activities include. practicing water sports and recreation only in designated areas, not littering riverside areas, not polluting the water in smaller and larger rivers. It is also good practice to maintain silence – loud conversations, shouting and music can be a great discomfort to the animal species that live there. Rivers are our national asset, it is thanks to them that Poland is such a beautiful and naturally varied country.

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