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#BTColumn – Importance of rivers to biodiversity

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By Wayne Campbell

“Rivers are the arteries of our planet; they’re lifelines within the truest sense.”-  Mark Angelo

National Geographic defines a river a ribbon-like body of water that flows downhill from the force of gravity. A river will be wide and deep, or shallow enough for an individual to wade across. A flowing body of water that’s smaller than a river is named a stream, creek, or brook. Some rivers flow year-round, while others flow only during certain seasons or when there was a variety of rain. The most important rivers will be 1000’s of miles long. All rivers have a place to begin where water begins its flow. This source is named a headwater. The opposite end of a river is named its mouth, where water empties right into a larger body of water, akin to a lake or ocean. Rivers also can form what is named an estuary, where salty seawater mixes with fresh water near the river mouth to form “brackish water.” Nothing is more soothing than having a river dip on a hot summer’s day or rafting on the Rio Grande.

Did you realize that Jamaica, a small island within the Caribbean, has greater than 100 rivers? Of the 120 rivers in Jamaica, the three largest and hottest are the Rio Grande positioned within the parish of Portland, the Yallahs River present in the parish in St. Thomas and the Black River in St. Elizabeth. The Black River is the widest river on the island, while the longest river is the Rio Minho. Some rivers on the island are also underground rivers which flow through limestone caves.  The United Nations World Rivers Day is widely known annually to lift and spread awareness in regards to the role and importance of rivers and other waterways, and the threats that might potentially endanger the waterways all over the world, in addition to to advertise the improved stewardship of all waterways for sustainable development.   

Sustainable Development Commission states sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the current, without compromising the flexibility of future generations to fulfill their very own needs.  The concept of sustainable development will be interpreted in many alternative ways, but at its core is an approach to development that appears to balance different, and sometimes competing, needs against an awareness of the environmental, social and economic limitations we face as a society.

At the present time highlights the values of rivers and strives to extend public awareness and encourages the improved supervision of rivers all over the world.  The day is observed on the fourth Sunday of September and fell this 12 months on September 25.  The theme for this 12 months’s World Rivers Day was ‘The importance of Rivers to Biodiversity’. Biodiversity refers to the variability of living species on Earth, including plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi. While Earth’s biodiversity is so wealthy that many species have yet to be discovered, many species are being threatened with extinction resulting from human activities, putting the Earth’s magnificent biodiversity in danger. Regrettably, lots of us dump garbage and refuse in our rivers. Our rivers are highly polluted and remain unhealthy for all times. Yet, we devour the fish and other types of food from our rivers not realizing or perhaps we don’t care.

The unconditional need for rivers to maintain any civilization going was the main focus of this 12 months’s theme. Not only humans, but rivers keep a wide selection of animals and plants as living respiration parts of our ecosystem.


Rivers are the constructing blocks of any civilization. Rivers play a vital role in ecosystem and are extremely helpful to human life. They’re certainly one of the most important sources of freshwater. Rivers not only provide us with fresh drinking water, but additionally provide water for domestic needs (e.g., food, energy, recreation, hygiene) and agricultural purposes (e.g, irrigation). Rivers also provide a pathway to enable people and goods to maneuver or transport from place to put. In recent a long time, human activities driven by industrialization, urbanization and population growth have caused pollution and damage to quite a few waterways all over the world, particularly within the areas where people commonly use the rivers as a source of water and transport. Practically, rivers in every country face an array of threats and thus should be sustainably managed.  Unquestionably, much of the Earth’s biodiversity, nonetheless, is in jeopardy resulting from human consumption and other activities that disturb and even destroy ecosystems. All of us have a job to play in protecting our rivers. It’s by safeguarding our rivers that we’re protecting not only our source of food but additionally the ecosystem at large. There’s an urgent have to strengthen our environmental watchdog groups. The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) the federal government’s agency with the mandate for environmental protection, natural resource management, land use and spatial planning in Jamaica needs more teeth. These organizations should be higher resourced when it comes to human and financial resources. Our instructional institutions should be brought into the conversation and more environmental clubs in our schools is one practical way that the following generation can turn into involved in learning in regards to the importance of rivers to biodiversity. We must redouble our efforts in urging stakeholders each on the national and community level to pay more attention to our rivers. Our rivers sustain life so why not give of your time and provides a river a voice! All of us have to become involved within the supervision and protecting of our rivers.

Within the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, a river is greater than an amenity, it’s a treasure. It offers a necessity of life that should be rationed amongst those that have power over it.

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender [email protected] @WayneCamo © #WorldRiversDay

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