Cleaning the Rivers of the World

Cleaning the Rivers of the World

Keywords: Beautification, Tree planting, Water, Sustainable economies, Storm surge, Biodiversity, Disease control and prevention, Ecosystems, Flooding, Environmental Education, Endangered species
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Cleaning the Rivers of the World

Salvador Rico, founder of Cleaning the Rivers of the World, traveled to India to participate in cleaning the Ganga River as part of Kiva Kumbh Mela, a joint celebration to honor The Fire That Unites the World for the Protection of the Holy Rivers. This festival gathered indigenous leaders from different parts of the representing more than 40 native nations, to unify the ancestral cultures of the world in one dance, song and prayer for the protection of the Holy Rivers. Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred or holy river.

Salvador offered celebrants the opportunity to connect the celebration of sacred rivers with the urgency to clean, preserve and protect them.  He shared his work of Cleaning the Rivers of the World, an ESRAG project, and reminded folks about WASRAG’s World Water Day Challenge as ways to unite those with common values to join forces. As Rotarians we can build partnerships and complement each other’s work and get more done.

Hundreds participated in a Ganga River Project, which collected several tons of trash from the sacred Ganges. Salvador is also working to renew an MOU between National Mission for Clean Ganga, a project of  the Indian Government and Rotary India WASH in Schools. Salvador donated gloves to use for river clean-ups and funds to support other clean-ups.

Start Planning Your Project Now!

Cleaning the Rivers of the World, a project of the Rotary Club of Ukiah South (District 5130, Northern California), provides support, leadership and fellowship for Rotarians and the projects they inspire to clean our rivers locally and globally.

The project, initiated by Rotarian Salvador Rico, has created a network of partnerships including Rotary clubs and Rotarian Action Groups to inspire, promote, and recognize the projects being undertaken around the world.

Educational materials on the challenge and best practice approaches are available in English and Spanish.

The partnership with the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG), the Rotarian Action Group for Peace (RAGFP), and the Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group (ESRAG) provides a model of the fellowship that grows within Rotary.

Among other things, Cleaning the Rivers of the World has initiated a semi-annual World Water Day Competition to recognize the Most Innovative and the Most Impactful river clean-up projects. The next competition deadline is May 1, 2019

Cleaning the Rivers of the World recognizes the fundamental role clean rivers play in our global initiative to rid the world of the wild polio virus.

Spring 2018 Winners!

The winners of the May 2018 World Water Day Competition are announced on the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group website (WASRAG). 

What must you do?

Whatever works best for your community! In some areas October 24th is in the middle of a dry season – or a monsoon. In the north, rivers may be frozen until Spring. The choice is yours! All we ask is that the project improve the quality of water and/or level of awareness of it in YOUR community. You could, for example:

  • Clean up debris along a waterway, lake, creek, pond, stream, or other water source.
  • Prevent erosion by planting trees and native plants along a water source.
  • Build awareness in your community – encourage students to write essays on the importance of water and what THEY can do to protect it.
  • Encourage farmers in your area to use eco-friendly chemicals that will not damage fragile water systems.
  • If your community’s water source is safe, eliminate plastic water bottles. If they are a necessity ensure they are collected and recycled appropriately.

Use your imagination! The bottom line is to educate your community on the importance of protecting its water sources. Get them involved!

Please consult with your local water or conservation authority to ensure that your efforts are compatible with conditions in your area! For example, cleaning a watercourse during spawning season could have a negative impact on fish stocks.

Need Ideas?

Go to the World Water Day website. You will find a wealth of ideas to kick-start your project.

Share your Story! 

Please use your project to celebrate World Water Day. You can promote it at your regular club meeting closest to March 22nd, 2018. WASRAG will share some of them in its monthly newsletter.

And – why not tell your story to the Rotary world yourself? Go to the RI website, log in, and then post it on Rotary Club Central and/or Rotary Showcase!

How Did We Get Started?  

Many of you will have read the fantastic story of the Rotary Club of South Ukiah (California) District 5130’s “Cleaning the Rivers of the World” program in The September 2018 Issue of the Rotarian Spearheaded by passionate water champion Salvador Rico, the Rotary Club of South Ukiah challenged Rotary clubs around the world to clean up rivers in their communities.

Inspired by Salvador and his club’s efforts, ESRAG now invites you and your club to get involved in water – and maybe win some funding for your water projects!