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World Rivers Day: Nigeria joins other nations to celebrate importance of waterways

In the light of the importance of clean fresh water in the fight against COVID-19, the World Rivers Day (WRD) has been described as a timely opportunity for millions of people around the world to come together to celebrate the importance of healthy, vibrant waterways.

River Ethiope
The River Ethiope

Themed “Waterways in our community”, WRD 2021 will be observed on Sunday, September 26.

Nigeria is joining the over 100 countries across six continents that will be participating “in what has become one of the planet’s biggest environmental celebrations”, according to the promoters.

Numerous projects and activities this year will highlight the link between rivers and the plight of our oceans, added Scott Denkers of the WRD Communications.

In Nigeria, World Rivers Day will mark the formal inauguration of the River Ethiope Basin Institute (REBI) at Delta State University, Abraka.

In addition, there will be a youth swimming competition, a secondary school essay/quiz/art competition, a fishing competition, cleanups, a signing of the River Ethiope Stakeholders’ Global Memorandum of Understanding, and a river symposium.

Also in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources will be organising a maiden WRD event in the upper basin of the Benue River.

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In Kenya, the group Happy Life for Development in partnership with several volunteers from the settlements of Manyatta B in Kisumu has organised a major clean-up of the River Auji.

Green Oasis Lens, on its part, is planning to celebrate this year’s WRD by engaging the Artists and Children in celebrating the Mathare River along its banks that have been cleaned up and restored in recent years.

In Canada, the International Observatory of Nature’s Rights will be organising a consultation to promote the rights and recognition of personhood for the Saint-Lawrence River in Quebec. In Nova Scotia, there will be a celebration of local river heritage at Bear River Millyard Recreation that will include kayak and canoe races, musical entertainment and various contests.

Elsewhere, the Global Environmental Justice documentary collection will continue to have screenings at the 75 universities (both Canadian and American) that subscribe to the collection. Other events range from the “Slow Ride River Paddle” on the Grand River in Kitchener, Ontario – to the “Rivers of Light” Festival in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

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Across the United States, there will be a range of activities. For examples, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Friends of the Rivers is organising a WRD celebration at Promenade Park that includes an art mural drain tour, a mix of hands-on and art activities, a “test your river smarts” event, and musical entertainment.

In addition, in other parts of the country, many groups this year will profile the relationship between healthy rivers and healthy oceans (as well as the important links between events like World Rivers Day and World Oceans Day). Groups like the Inland Ocean Coalition and the Ocean Project epitomise these efforts.

While SOLVE, Oregon, will be undertaking major cleanups on WRD weekend in efforts to keep garbage and debris from reaching the sea, the “Friends of Chicago River” in Illinois have organised a “canoe and clean” event starting at the Eleanor St. Boathouse to kick off the Rivers Day weekend.

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Spanning the UK, in southeast London, there will be the Art Hub studios exhibition on “soothing streams” inspired by Deptford Creek, said to be one of the most bio-diverse landscapes in London. Elsewhere, Applause Rural Touring and South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) have created Full Harvest; a series of audio stories and poems inspired by the South Downs landscape available as podcasts that will be profiled on WRD with each episode celebrating one of the seven rivers which flow through the South Downs National Park in England, from the Meon in the West to the Cuckmere in the East.

In addition, the Missing Salmon Alliance in the UK will be undertaking a communications initiative around World Rivers, the Richmond Canoe Club Race will take place on the lower Thames, while the Thames Festival Trust will organise a number of events, including Sea Re-Connection, an art and poetry exhibition delving into the relationship between the river, the sea, and humankind.

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