Rivers have served as the lifeline of the greatest civilizations of the world since time immemorial. They are necessary for transportation of goods from one place to another, as a source of drinking water, and for agriculture and industrial purposes. They are also an important source of life since many fishes, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates are found in the waters of these rivers. They also play an essential role in navigation, irrigation, shipment purposes, power generation, etc.
Importance of Longest Rivers in Asia
There are many long rivers situated in the Asian sub-continent. The Yangtze River is the third longest worldwide and the longest river in the Asia with a length of 6,300 km. The other long Asian rivers are the Yellow River of 5,464 km, River Mekong of 4,909 km and Brahmaputra and Indus Rivers with a length of 2,900 km each. The Yangtze River is unique in the fact that it is the longest river in the world to flow within one country only and its basin encompasses one-fifth of the land area of China. The river rises from various tributaries, but its main source lies in the wetlands near the Dan Qu tributary, and the four freshwater lakes of China contribute to its water source too. It carries immense importance for the Chinese people and contributes 20% towards the GDP of the country as it is used for irrigation, industry, transportation and more. An established Three Gorges Dam is one of the largest hydroelectric power stations made on the river. The headwaters of the Yellow River is traced to the Bayan Har Mountains in the Qinghai province situated in Western China. The river flows through nine provinces of the country and at last reaches the Bohai Sea. It is named as China’s Sorrow due to devastating floods. Aquaculture is an important occupation carried out here, and people are engaged in raising a variety of turtles. The Mekong River rises in the Qinghai province of China and after passing through five countries namely Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam, it drains into the South China Sea. The river supports the inland fishery and most of the people who inhabit the basin are dependent on the Mekong River for their livelihood. It is an important source for the cultivation of staple crops, a trade route connecting six countries and the hydroelectric dam providing electricity to many people. The rivers like Indus and Brahmaputra are also the primary sources of fishing, cultivation of crops and navigational purpose for the people living nearby the region.
Methods for Conserving the Rivers of Asia
Many climatic changes and manmade threats affect the Asian rivers. Pollution is the main cause followed by the rapid industrialization methods, excessive extraction of river waters for domestic and personal usage of the people and more. However, there are also many conservation methods suggested to save these rivers like generating support from the local communities by creating awareness about harmful effects of pollution, saving fresh-water species, quick action against industries discharging the pollutants in the rivers, etc.