Our rivers are barometers of environmental neglect – it’s time to clean them up

On the occasion of World Environment Day 2018 – for which the theme this year is “Beat Plastic Pollution” – the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has published an opinion article on river health in the Global Food for Thought blog of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Much of the plastic and other trash that winds up in our oceans gets there via rivers. The condition of rivers worldwide, argue two IWMI researchers and a colleague with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), is a key indicator of broader environmental neglect that must be reversed. World Environment Day is the “people’s day” for “doing something to take care of the Earth.” In this spirit, the IWMI article emphasizes that local communities have an important role to play in monitoring river health and in seeking a balance between using and safeguarding river resources.

Myanmars Ayeyarwady River is vital for rural livelihoods
Myanmars Ayeyarwady River is vital for rural livelihoods. Photo Matthew McCartney/IWMI.

Read the Global Food for Thought blog post