Wildlife group warns world rivers at risk

Climate change, pollution, over-extraction of water, and development are killing some of the world’s most famous rivers including China’s Yangtze, India’s Ganges, and Africa’s Nile, conservation group WWF said March 20.

At the global launch of its report “World’s Top 10 Rivers at Risk,” the Geneva-based group said many rivers could dry out, affecting hundreds of millions of people and killing unique aquatic life.

“If these rivers die, millions will lose their livelihoods, biodiversity will be destroyed on a massive scale, there will be less fresh water and agriculture, resulting in less food security,” said Ravi Singh, secretary-general of WWF-India.

The report, launched ahead of �World Water Day� March 22, also cited the Rio Grande in the United States, the Mekong, Salween, and Indus in Asia, Europe’s Danube, La Plata in South America, and Australia’s Murray-Darling as in need of greater protection.

Rivers are the world’s main source of fresh water and WWF said about half of the available supply is already being used up. It alleged dams have destroyed habitats and cut rivers off from their flood plains, while climate change could affect the seasonal water flows that feed them, the report said.

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