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What is River NGO?

       River NGO is a non-governmental river organization whose members take an active stand against river pollution. Water is a renewable resource, but its total volume on the planet is not increasing, while the population of the planet is steadily growing, and at the same time water consumption is increasing. According to UNESCO, the annual increase in the demand for freshwater is 64 million cubic meters. But the amount of clean fresh water available is decreasing due to human intervention in natural processes and inadequate treatment of industrial and agricultural wastewater.

        The threat of freshwater scarcity is a pressing problem for the entire planet, not just for some distant and poor countries. But we still have a chance to preserve this resource. River non-profit organizations around the world have been addressing this issue for years. 

What are the main types of river pollution?

 Rivers and lakes are one of the main sources of drinking water for human settlements, as well as a source of commercial fish. That is why their ecological condition is an important aspect of the life of mankind. The main cause of river pollution can confidently be called anthropogenic pressure. Intensive development of industry, population growth, and an increase in wastewater discharge leads to an increase in the concentration of harmful products, which affects not only the flora and fauna but also the quality of life of the population. River cleaning organizations distinguish the following main types of river water pollution:

 1. Sewage water. Sewage water adversely affects the state of fish, and mammals, as well as their food supply - aquatic plants and invertebrates. Sewage is contaminated not only with biological waste, which carries a biological hazard in the form of disease sources. Large quantities of synthetic detergents are used to simplify everyday life. All this gets into the runoff.

 2. Industrial waste. The growth of industry due to the growing needs of the population leads to an inevitable increase in waste. Discharges from enterprises are often not properly treated due to cost savings and contain heavy metals, phenols, formaldehyde, tannins, insoluble compounds, refinery products, etc. Industrial wastes constitute the major part of mineral and radioactive pollution of water reservoirs.

 3. Garbage. Absence of landfills or their illegal creation and, as a consequence, dumping of solid wastes into the river lead to the formation of entire garbage islands. They prevent sunlight and oxygen from getting in and release harmful chemical compounds as they decompose. Plastic pollution in the river disrupts the natural processes of ecosystems, leading to the destruction of food chains. 

 4. Thermal pollution. Drainage of warm water into the reservoir as a result of power plants has no less adverse effect, disturbing the natural habitat of fish and algae. Organisms that are not physiologically adapted to the new environment are forced to migrate or die from organismal disorders.

 5. Atmospheric pollution. Exhaust gases from cars, atmospheric pollution from thermal power plants and industrial structures lead to air pollution and concentrations of harmful substances in rainwater. Acid rain changes the chemical composition of water, and acidifies it, again leading to violations of the living organisms of water bodies.

The type of river pollution affects the choice of water treatment method. Often combined methods are used to achieve the best result. At the moment, there are 4 main ways to clean fresh water:

● Mechanical (by cleaning the river bed, cleaning the lake from silt allows you to get rid of excessive amounts of plants and algae, silt, and debris);
● Chemical (by using reagents water composition is normalized);
● Biological (normalization of the number of nutrients in the reservoir);
● Ultraviolet (destruction of bacteria, and unicellular algae by ultraviolet radiation).

What are organizations doing to stop river pollution?

       Organizations fighting to save rivers carry out dozens of activities each year to combat river pollution. Their projects include river conservation charities, monitoring of anthropogenic impact on aquatic ecosystems, sanitary and microbiological assessment of water in priority areas, research on the content of heavy metals in water and endemic microorganisms, etc.

        An important task of the initiative to protect water resources is to improve public environmental education and attract public attention to the problem of water pollution. Eco-activists are increasingly urging people to use water bodies rationally and treat them with care, organizing large-scale educational campaigns. In localities, regular clean-up events are held to clean coastal areas and the bottom of lakes and rivers of garbage. There is a campaign for the mass rejection of plastic bags and plastic.

        Thanks to the work of the NGOs tens of thousands of people have already switched to safe, phosphate-free detergents in order not to contaminate wastewater with phosphates, which cause water blooms and the death of aquatic vegetation and animals. River NGO members also suggested the most affordable way to combat river pollution is by hand-collecting trash along the shorelines. Many of us have seen the work of the volunteers and have even taken part in such environmental actions. The results of the volunteers' work are impressive: the banks of rivers are freed from garbage and become livable again.

How to Choose Nonprofit River Organizations

       Nowadays, there are more than 150 river NGOs all over the world. Non-governmental river organizations exist in every country where there are rivers or other freshwater reservoirs. Since the choice is quite large, when looking for a suitable nonprofit river organization, you should decide what characteristics are a priority for you.

        Pay attention to the location: what regions the NGO works in and what is its level of influence (local or international). If your country does not have any NGOs for river protection, you should start looking for international organizations that address freshwater protection issues in other (possibly neighboring) countries.

        The second important aspect is which activities the river NGO you are interested in focuses on. This means that some of these organizations are more engaged in holding actions, rallies, and charity exhibitions in defense of water resources. You can say that such organizations are engaged in the prevention of the environmental pollution of rivers. But there are also such organizations whose activities are aimed at direct cleaning already polluted water bodies. You should study the activities of the organizations you are interested in and choose the one that can help you solve your problems.
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