SDGs are a new focus for restoring water quality and river ecosystems

Governments around the world have adopted the Sustainable Development Goals to stop and reverse the decline of water quality and the destruction of freshwater ecosystems. They have set ambitious targets to “improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials”, and to “protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes”.

This is an opportunity to reverse decades, or even centuries, of environmental degradation, and to get serious about replenishing the environment.

What is the size and scale of the effort required to reach the goals set for 2030? There are around 165 major rivers in the world with a total length of approximately 300,000 km; and many smaller rivers, with an approximate length of another 300,000 km. This leaves us about 600,000 km of rivers to deal with.

This is no small task. But restoring water quality, healthy ecosystems and biodiversity will not only benefit freshwater ecosystems and users downstream, including rapidly growing cities, but also marine life in coastal areas and the oceans. Read more.