On the occasion of World Rivers Day, the Lower Niger River Basin Authority (LNRBA) initiated a crucial tree planting campaign along the banks of the Oja-Iya river in the heart of Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State. This year’s World Rivers Day theme, “The Incredible Natural Cultural and Recreational Values of Rivers and Streams in our Communities”, served as a powerful reminder of the importance of our waterways.
The Managing Director of LNRBA, Dr. Adeniyi Aremu, emphasised the need for the protection and conservation of Nigeria’s rivers. He urged Nigerians to recognise the direct link between clean water bodies and clean behaviours, highlighting the significance of World Rivers Day as a global initiative aimed at raising awareness about the immense natural, cultural, and recreational values that rivers and streams bring to our communities. In his address during the event, Dr. Aremu stated, “The celebration is intended to draw attention to Nigeria’s rivers that are in degraded states and facing increasing pressures associated with pollution, industrial development, urbanisation, and climate change, mostly due to human activities”.
This acknowledgment highlighted the urgency of safeguarding our rivers against threats of pollution and environmental degradation. One of the most critical aspects of this year’s World Rivers Day celebration was the recognition that untreated emerging pollutants from contaminated rivers and water bodies often find their way back into communities, posing significant public health risks. Dr. Aremu’s concerns resonated with the global discourse on water pollution and its detrimental effects on public health. In a call to action, Dr. Aremu appealed to the public to discontinue activities that obstruct water flow in rivers, emphasizing the need for regular drainage cleaning and river channel desilting. Such initiatives are essential in ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of our rivers.
World Rivers Day 2023 served as a poignant reminder that our rivers are not only sources of livelihood, but also vital elements of our cultural and recreational heritage. As Nigeria grapples with the challenges of industrialisation and urban development, the preservation of its rivers and water bodies remains crucial, not just for the environment, but also for the well-being of its people. The global significance of World Water Day was underscored by the efforts of the Lower Niger River Basin Authority, as they tirelessly work towards the protection and rejuvenation of Nigeria’s invaluable river systems, with the hope of inspiring others to join the cause of safeguarding our most precious natural resources.