WORLD RIVERS DAY
Every year on the fourth Sunday in September, World Rivers Day highlights the many values of rivers and streams. It’s also a day to encourage the improved stewardship of rivers around the world.
It’s difficult to determine the exact number of rivers in the world. According to experts, there are 165 major rivers. These waterways are long and wide and contain large volumes of flowing water. Seventy-six rivers are over 1,000 miles long. Some of the world’s longest rivers include:
- Nile (4,135 miles long)
- Amazon (3,980 miles long)
- Yangtze (3,917 miles long)
- Mississippi and Missouri (3,902 miles and the longest river system in North America)
- Yenisei (3,445 miles long)
- Yellow (3,398 miles long)
Besides these long rivers, there are thousands of small rivers and streams. One misconception people have about rivers is the direction in which they flow. Most people think all rivers flow south. However, four of the ten longest rivers in the world flow north. Another fun fact about rivers is that the United States has 3.5 million miles of rivers.
Rivers provide a natural habitat for many animals throughout the world. These waterways are also used for drinking water and to irrigate crops. Additionally, rivers produce electricity for hydroelectric dams. Many people love to spend the day swimming, boating, or fishing on the river. These waterways have also provided a mode of transportation throughout human history. For all of these reasons, it’s of utmost importance to protect our planet’s rivers.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldRiversDay
Water conservation groups, environmentalists, recycling societies, and many others host a variety of events on this day. Some host a day of activity and leisure to enjoy the river. Others host more educational events to teach the general public about the importance of rivers. Many also spend the day cleaning up in and around a river in their community. To participate:
- Host a cleanup party at a river in your community.
- Spend the day at the river with family and friends.
- Learn more about the world’s longest rivers and how they have helped shape history.
- Have a contest with others to see who can name the most rivers.
- Share a picture or video of your favorite river on social media with #WorldRiversDay.
WORLD RIVERS DAY HISTORY
In December of 2003, the United Nations proclaimed 2005 to 2015 as “Water for Life Decade.” Their goal was to create awareness for better care of our planet’s water resources. The decade officially began on March 22, 2005. Soon after, Mark Angelo founded World Rivers Day. Angelo is from British Columbia, Canada and is also the founder of BC Rivers Day. The first World Rivers Day took place in 2005. Dozens of countries celebrated the day. Since then, the day has been celebrated by millions of people in up to 100 countries.
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