International Day of Action for Rivers is annually observed across the globe on March 14 to raise awareness about how important rivers are to our daily lives and seek to spread awareness about unequal access to clean water and the increasing pollution of freshwater habitats like rivers as a result of blatant human activity.
- 14th March 2023 marks the celebration of the 26th anniversary of the International Day of Action for Rivers.
Note: The day was formerly known as the International Day against Dams, for Rivers, Water, and Life.
The following objectives are observed annually on the International Day of Action for Rivers:
- to highlight the importance of rivers in our lives,
- to raise awareness about how freshwater ecosystems like rivers are increasingly being polluted due to human activities, and
- to promote and safeguard equitable access to clean and flowing water.
i. International Day of Action against Dams, for Rivers, Water, and Life was adopted by the participants of the 1st International Meeting of People Affected by Dams held in March 1997 in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil, hosted by the Movement of Dam Affected Peoples from Brazil (MAB).
ii. Representatives from 20 countries including Taiwan, Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, Russia, France, Switzerland, and the United States decided that the International Day of Action would fall on 14 March (Brazil’s Day of Action Against Large Dams).
iii. According to International Rivers, a global non-profit organisation, the 1st International Day of Action for Rivers was observed on 14th March 1998.
i. The International Day of Action for Rivers is a day of solidarity when many different communities come together to express their support for rivers and the rights of people that rely on them.
ii. Several rivers around the globe have turned into sewage canals or are overrun with hazardous industrial pollution.
- The most threatened rivers are the Susitna River, (United States of America-USA), Jondachi River (Ecuador), Sanna River (Austria), Skeena River (Canada), and Zambezi River (Africa).
- A recent study by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has found that Ganga is one of the 10 most endangered rivers in the world due to the very high level of pollution.
iii. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India (GoI), is to reduce pollution and ensure the rejuvenation of the Ganga river.
- NMCG is implemented by the National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga also known as the National Ganga Council.
Major Threats faced by Rivers:
Pollution: Waste and contaminants from agricultural, industrial, and residential sources are often dumped in rivers.
- This pollution makes a serious impact on the health of aquatic ecosystems and the people and wildlife that depend on them.
Dam construction: Dam construction has the potential to alter river flow naturally and disrupt the natural processes that sustain aquatic ecosystems.
- It can also lead to the displacement of communities and the loss of important cultural and historical sites.
Climate change: Climate change’s consequences- increased temperatures, droughts, and floods, can have a big impact on the health and function of river ecosystems function.
About the International Rivers:
Interim Co-Executive Directors- Josh Klemm and Isabella Winkler
Headquarters- Oakland, California, USA