Rivers are the arteries of life on earth. They shape the landscape, are an important ecosystem and a key element in our planet's water transport system. It certainly deserves its international day. It always falls on the fourth Sunday in September. It is worth pausing briefly over the river phenomenon.
Rivers have been the foundation of the oldest civilizations. They provided a stable source of drinking water and fertile land for agriculture. They were also used for transportation and fishing. Today, rivers are seen as recreational and leisure spots in many cities, but in many parts of the world, people still depend on rivers for their livelihoods. The Mekong River, for example, provides sustenance for 60 million people. There are only 19 independent countries without a single river on their territory, most of which are islands. Eight countries, including Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Libya, have deserts and rely on intermittent riverbeds for water. Interestingly, the most common cause of death in deserts is drowning, as water can quickly flow through dried-up riverbeds during rainstorms. In the Czech Republic, most rivers are of female gender, except for the Elbe. International Rivers Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of rivers as a source of drinking water and unique ecosystems. It reminds us to preserve and protect these vital water resources.