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Old 10-11-2010, 07:10 AM   #1
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Default Rivers worldwide in peril: society treats symptoms, ignores causes

Rivers worldwide in peril: society treats symptoms, ignores causes
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
September 29, 2010

Rivers worldwide in peril: society treats symptoms, ignores causes
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Dams, agricultural runoff, pesticides, sewage, mercury pollution from coal plants, invasive species, overconsumption, irrigation, erosion from deforestation, wetland destruction, overfishing, aquaculture: it's clear that the world's rivers are facing a barrage of unprecedented impacts from humans, but just how bad is the situation? A new global analysis of the world's rivers is not comforting: the comprehensive report, published in Nature, finds that our waterways are in a deep crisis which bridges the gap between developing nations and the wealthy west. According to the study, while societies spend billions treating the symptoms of widespread river degradation, they are still failing to address the causes, imperiling both human populations and freshwater biodiversity.

"Flowing rivers represent the largest single renewable water resource for humans," says Charles J. Vörösmarty of the City University of New York, an expert on global water resources and co-leader of the international team examining the world's rivers. "What we've discovered is that when you map out these many sources of threat, you see a fully global syndrome of river degradation."

The study found that...
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