This year, on September 27, we are celebrating the World Rivers Day for the fifteenth time. This celebration was established in 2005 by the United Nations Organization, which proclaimed the International "Water for Life" Decade in order to raise awareness of the need to protect the world's water resources.
The regulation and exploitation of rivers, which lasted for decades, consequently had a huge impact on their degradation. Only a quarter of 111,000 km of rivers in Poland preserved in a nearly natural state, although Polish rivers are still one of the least transformed in Europe.
National Water Holding "The Polish Waters" is responsible for formulating and implementing renaturalization plans. They do not expect a complete change in the nature of rivers, but only an improvement in the functioning of ecosystems. Their aim is to restore natural conditions where possible, while reconciling the environmental, economic and social goals. The renaturalization plans complement with other programs, such as the flood risk management plan and the drought prevention plan. Each of them is oriented on specific goal, but ultimately they form a substantive entirety and are reflected in water management plans.
World Rivers Day is celebrated in more than 60 countries around the world and several million people take part in it. Nevertheless, there are many measures that each of us can take to ensure that the rivers in our neighbourhood are cleaner and provide the natural development of fauna and flora. It is necessary to look for solutions that will allow us to use river resources more reasonably, and at the same time act to restore them to the most natural conditions. At the national level, these measures include, for instance, elimination of unnecessary transformations of watercourses or reduction of the results of necessary transformations, but whose negative environmental effects can be limited. On an individual level, it may be, for example, participation in the riverside cleaning actions conducted regularly by the Polish Waters under the slogan #WodaToNieŚmietnik and #SzanujWodę.
Let's not be indifferent. It depends on the wise and conscious behavior of each of us whether the rivers will continue to provide us with clean water, give us the opportunity to rest and inspire us to various activities. World Rivers Day is an occasion to recall the importance of rivers in the ecosystem. Let's take care of them and protect them every day, for us and for future generations.