September 08, 2010 13:30 ET

Sixth Annual World Rivers Day Set for September 26

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

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 8, 2010) - Millions of people from across the globe are expected to participate in the in the sixth annual World Rivers Day (WRD) on Sunday, September 26. 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 festivities. Some will focus on educational and public awareness activities while others will organize events that will range from river and stream cleanups, to habitat enhancement and restoration activities, to community riverside celebrations. WRD is based on the great success of BC Rivers Day in Canada's western most province.

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 be impacted by inappropriate practices and inadequate protection," says Mark Angelo, Rivers Day Chair and head of the Rivers Institute at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

Angelo, a member of the Order of Canada 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 and they have lent their valued support to this global rivers initiative.

"Millions of people, dozens of countries, and numerous international organizations will be contributing to World Rivers Day," says Angelo, founder and chair of World Rivers Day. "WRD provides a great opportunity for people to get out and enjoy our waterways. At the same time, the event strives to 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 its 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."

WRD fosters an increased awareness of water-related issues and promotes core values associated with sustainability, conservation, and river stewardship.

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