September 08, 2010 13:30 ET

30th BC Rivers Day Set for September 26-Evolves Into Global Event

With Many of the World's Waterways in Trouble, Rivers Day Aims to Increase Awareness, Promote Better Stewardship and Encourage Action

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 8, 2010) - More than 75,000 people around the province are expected to participate in the 30th anniversary of BC Rivers Day, set for Sunday, September 26. Festivities will take place in every corner of the Province with events ranging from stream clean-ups and habitat enhancement projects to community riverside celebrations. At the same time, many from across the globe will be participating in the sixth annual World Rivers Day (WRD), based on the success of the BC event. With many of the world's rivers facing severe and mounting threats associated with climate change, pollution, and industrial development, dozens of countries are rallying to participate in this year's sixth annual World Rivers Day (WRD) festivities.

Rivers Day strives to increase public awareness about the importance of our waterways as well as the threats confronting them. "Rivers are the arteries of our planet and yet many waterways continue to suffer from inadequate protection and an array of impacts," says Mark Angelo, Rivers Day Chair and head of the Rivers Institute at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

Angelo, a member of both the Order of Canada and Order of BC and an inaugural recipient of a United Nations (UN) Award for Science, Education and Conservation, initially founded BC Rivers Day in British Columbia before successfully lobbying numerous organizations as well as agencies of the UN to recognize WRD in 2005. Marking a global response to the need to better manage and care for our river ecosystems, WRD celebrates the many values of the world's waterways while also encouraging appropriate action to better protect rivers and streams. The event is also intended to compliment the UN's broader Water for Life Decade initiative, which has also lent their valued support to this global initiative.

"Millions of people, dozens of countries, and numerous international organizations will be contributing to World Rivers Day," says Angelo, founder and chair of both BC and World Rivers Day. "Rivers Day provides an opportunity for people to get out and enjoy our waterways. At the same time, the event will create a greater awareness of the urgent need to better care for our rivers and streams."

Endorsed in its inaugural year by UN agencies such as the United Nations University, and the International Network of Water, Environment, and Health and with HSBC as the lead sponsor, WRD events will include river clean-ups, fish enhancement projects, stream restoration initiatives, workshops, educational programs, and community riverside festivals. This year, events will take place in dozens of countries, ranging from Canada to England, Poland to the United States, Malaysia to Australia, and from South Africa to the island of Dominica.

All countries are encouraged to participate and events can be registered at worldriversday.bcit.ca.

"It's pretty exciting to see a local event that started 30 years ago in British Columbia evolve into such a positive global effort to better care for our rivers," says Angelo. "Beyond celebrating our rivers, WRD helps to create a greater awareness of the many threats that confront our waterways. Many rivers are also being hard hit by climate change and have come to symbolize the freshwater crisis facing many countries, making improved stewardship imperative."

Both BC and World Rivers Day foster an increased awareness of water-related issues and promote core values associated with sustainability, conservation, and river stewardship.

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