EU Green Week just ended and WRF is happy to announce another step forward for the contribute that our movement is committed to giving to the protection of the global environment.
On 3rd June Surfrider Foundation Europe organised an online conference bringing together representatives of water sports federations, athletes, researchers, environmental NGOs and local institutions from across Europe. "All on board for healthy waters” reflected on what should be done to ensure healthy waters in Europe and make sure the rules we have in place to safeguard public health and clean bathing waters are up to date and meet the objective to preserve, protect and improve the quality of the environment and to protect human health.
For 30 years, Surfrider Foundation Europe has been protecting, safeguarding and enhancing the oceans and the entire population that benefits from them. It acts on a daily basis to fight against damage of the water environment and its users, working with every level of society from citizens, to businesses and public institutions and governments on 3 main issues: water quality and health, marine litter, coastal adaptation and climate change.
Last week’s meeting gave the floor to diverse stakeholders with either first hand experience of bad water quality or ideas for improving the EU legislation.
WRF President Danilo Barmaz presented the World Rafting Federation giving evidence of the importance of safeguarding fresh water. Despite almost 97% of water on earth consists of salt water and less than 1% is available fresh water, rivers represent the veins of our planet. We paddle in these veins, we live in them and the closer we get to the water, the more we become aware of how precious this resource is. We all should stop and think about it, but never think to stop. 48 million people in Europe are believed to be involved in water sports and as a community included in this number there is a lot that we can do.
All the water on this planet is connected, from the bottom of the oceans to the top of the mountains, the whitewater we paddle in is a peculiar part of the whole cycle. From large industries to the single citizen, irresponsible human activities contribute to altering and polluting the natural water cycle and reducing its resilience. We need to raise people awareness on this fundamental issues that affects everyone, not only people who live or work in close contact with water and nature, but the whole world population. We need to think together about solutions to ensure healthy waters, in order to best protect human and water health, that are strictly connected to each other.
For the first time Surfrider Foundation gave voice to rafting as a healthy and educational activity: both through competitions and commercial activities the sport catches the eye of people who are not used to see water as a force of nature, but benefits from it every day. Rafting, as an accessible introduction for anyone into the world of water sports, can change their perspective and show them the veins of this planet and how human activities threaten water worldwide.
This online event will also be the occasion for Surfrider Foundation Europe to deliver the European Manifesto for #HealthyWaters to the European Commission, which has received the support from more than 60 organisations across Europe.
“This manifesto advocates for:
- Extending of water quality monitoring to recreational and water sports areas
- Monitoring water quality throughout the year
- Adding new parameters in the monitoring of water quality and in the criteria for the classification of sites: the presence of marine litter, harmful algal blooms and cyanobacteria, and chemical pollutants
- Obligations for the Member States regarding identifying, assessing and preventing pollution
- Standardised, more accessible and better relayed public information on water quality, as well as strengthened and encouraged public participation
- Aligning all policies with an impact on water and the protection of the marine environment. This event has been labelled 'EU Green Week 2021 Partner Event' and has received funding from the LIFE Programme of the European Union.”
The aim is to warn the public and European politicians of the need for quick action in order to enjoy healthier recreational waters. By bringing together all of its claims and recommendations in this text, it is calling for the adoption of effective measures to improve monitoring of these areas, whether they be oceans, lakes or rivers.