Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Rivers Should Flow Free

The number of free-flowing rivers around the world is falling drastically. Of the world's longest rivers (over 1,000 kilometres in length) only a third remain free-flowing. These remaining free-flowing rivers can only be found in areas which are relatively underpopulated by humans, for example in the Arctic and the Amazon and Congo basins.

The result of restricting the free-flow of rivers is extensive damage to the environment, river biodiversity and floodplain agriculture. The free-flow of rivers can be disrupted in many ways, including dams & reservoirs, the construction of buildings & bridges, agriculture and disruption to natural aquifers and floodplains. Free-flowing rivers contribute to biodiversity, they help to maintain natural floodplains, they help to maintain fish stocks and contribute enormously to the recreation and tourism industries. Where possible rivers should be allowed to flow free.

The World Wildlife Fund is creating a global database to map the world's remaining free-flowing rivers. They have also released the Free Flowing Rivers interactive map to visualize the worlds remaining free-flowing rivers and to allow you to explore in what way the free-flow of rivers is being disrupted. The 'Story Mode' section of the map takes a closer look at the drastic impact of human construction on natural river environments around the globe. It also explores how removing outdated human infrastructure can help to restore the natural flow of rivers.

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