Global rivers in crisis

Global rivers in crisis

Image courtesy: One Earth Foundation

Water makes life possible on Earth and our planet’s rivers connect the webs of life, bringing together freshwater, marine and terrestrial environments. Evolution on Earth has been shaped by the critical natural processes and many are driven by our rivers.  The rivers have also played a key role in the human patterns of civilization.  The ability of rivers to generate and sustain life gets seriously compromised when their flows are disturbed and they get disconnected from fertile floodplains, the ocean, the biotic communities.

Humans have built over 50,000 dams across the once free-flowing rivers and many of the mighty rivers now no longer reach the ocean, turning once-productive deltas into biological deserts. Freshwater ecosystems are experiencing the greatest loss of biodiversity. Over the past 40 years, freshwater ecosystems have lost 50% of their populations and over a third of remaining freshwater fish species are threatened with extinction.

A study by UW – Madison Center for Limnology and the City College of New York published in Nature – Sept. 2010,  stated that  80 per cent of the world’s human population lives in areas where river waters are highly threatened, posing a major threat to human water security and resulting in aquatic environments where thousands of species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction.

The threat is real and if unchecked, controlled and reversed will have dire consequences for life on our plant.  There is an urgent need to create awareness among people and policymakers.

Enviro Trips™ works closely with the student community engaging and sensitizing them to the freshwater crisis faced by our planet.  Our students have actively participated in various clean river campaigns, collected data in varied rivers across India and explored the threats to rivers.


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Raminder Chowdhary

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