On July 11th, Big Jump - a European day of swimming in the rivers - is being organized all over Europe to demonstrate people's relationship to water streams. The goal of the initiative, founded in 2002, is to unite for the protection and restoration of Europe’s freshwaters. This year, the Association of River Keepers Eco-TIRAS with Czech non-governmental organization Arnika are inviting for the first time in history both individuals and initiatives from Moldova to join the event too and make a big jump into local rivers between July 11th and 18th.
Nature lovers - adults, kids, groups, and individuals - can gather and celebrate the natural wealth by active participation in their favorite river in their neighborhoods, or can join the Big Jump with the organizers in Chisinau on July 13th. “Many Moldovan rivers currently suffer from insufficient management and lack of financing, but also climate change, intensive agriculture, pollution, hydropower plants operations... We are convinced these serious issues deserve attention and, more importantly, sustainable solutions,” says Ilya Trombitsky from the Association of the River Keepers Eco-TIRAS.
By gathering and swimming in rivers, we demonstrate that rivers are not and should not be only sewers, sources of water, or a transport route, but that they are part of our lives, a place of rest and encounter with nature and its beauty. “We want to remind people why and how much we all love European rivers and that they need our protection so we could enjoy them and keep them wild and free also for the future generations,” explains Zuzana Vachunova, coordinator of the community events from Czechia based NGO Arnika.
The Big Jump initiative wants to recall the objective set by the European Union: 25 thousand kilometers of rivers restored into free-flowing rivers by 2030 (1). “The more people will participate, the stronger our voices will be and get the opportunity to be actually heard. By participating we are sending a signal to the authorities that our rivers need stronger protection and greater efforts to save their natural functions and character,” Vachunova adds.
The event is organized within the joint project Adoption of Moldovan rivers of non-governmental organizations Eco-TIRAS (Moldova) and Arnika (Czechia), financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic within the Transition Promotion Program.
More information about the Big Jump, held in Moldova from July 11th to July 18th, can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/504339870848452
(1) As stated in European Commission's Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 as a key commitment in the Nature Restoration Plan by 2030 and in section 2.2.7. Restoring freshwater ecosystems: “The EU’s legal framework on the water is ambitious but implementation is lagging behind and enforcement must be stepped up. Greater efforts are needed to restore freshwater ecosystems and the natural functions of rivers in order to achieve the objectives of the Water Framework Directive. This can be done by removing or adjusting barriers that prevent the passage of migrating fish and improving the flow of water and sediments. To help make this a reality, at least 25,000 km of rivers will be restored into free-flowing rivers by 2030 through the removal of primarily obsolete barriers and the restoration of floodplains and wetlands.” Full document is available here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/communication-annex-eu-biodiversity-strategy-2030_en.pdf