In July 2022, Europeans celebrated European River Swimming Day for the 20th time in history. Our partners in Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina joined this opportunity to remind their fellow citizens of the necessity of caring for rivers. Local people enjoyed the events and proved once again that they recognize the importance of water sources in their lives. And they also experienced that protection of nature could and should be fun!
To celebrate this event, our partners from the Moldovan non-governmental organization Biotica invited people to the village of Cioburciu on the bank of the Dniester River, a famous tourist place in Lower Dniester National Park, on July 24. The participants enjoyed a lovely trip on the Dniester on kayaks, discussing the importance of the river for the region. They were also keen on committing a real action! Therefore, they did not limit their visit to fun activities. They also cleaned a beach near Cioburciu – where they collected 12 bags of litter – and sent a joint message to express their support for clean and living rivers via social media. Altogether, people from different corners of the country came together and enjoyed a momentous day.
“We had a wonderful time organizing this year's Big Jump event. It was the first time we had organized such an event, and we tried to combine the pleasant with the useful. During a nice ride on the Dniester River, we had the opportunity to discuss with the participants the importance of the rivers for all of us and what we can do to preserve them for our future generations,“ describes the event Liliana Josan, the project coordinator from the Biotica team.
Like Moldovans, the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina also used the opportunity of Big Jump to unite and show everybody that despite different backgrounds, they all share the same river basins. This year, the event occurred at four locations, including the stunning Una river. The event was mainly about fun. We believe engaging the youngest generation in protecting the environment is essential. Therefore, we were happy to see many children enjoying themselves at the event. After all, what motivates the adults to preserve rivers for the future generation better than seeing their happy offspring jump joyfully in clean water?
“Why are events like the Big Jump important? They unite the people of different ethnic, religious, or social backgrounds and demonstrate what we all have in common – the rivers. They remind us how important and fragile the river ecosystems are and that nowadays are threatened by many factors - climate change, dam building, or toxic substances released by polluters besides others,” concludes Zuzana Vachůnová, the Bosnian project’s coordinator from Arnika.