the challenge
Whenever we start a conversation about the pollution of urban rivers, a whole bunch of reasons are numbered to explain it. Yes, there is a lot of problems causing the pollution of rivers, but this kind of argument is a problem itself, because when we list so many arguments, we get the feeling that the problem is too big and nothing we do will be enough. Besides, some arguments are not even real. Instead, they are a result of a social imaginary inherited from old narratives.
So, we realized that it's important to understand the whole picture, but it's essential to focus on main topics.
This is what the Blue City's journey is about.
Here we present the three main truths we need to know if we want to rescue urban rivers:
​first truth: being aware of the real reasons for the urban rivers pollution
We need to focus on the present.
Rivers are polluted because we pollute them now, not in the past.
We don't have to clean rivers. Rivers have the capacity to regenerate themselves.
We just have to stop polluting them.
It is about me and also about you.
Everybody is responsible for polluting rivers: people, companies and government.
second truth: understanding the current model, with two systems flowing underneath the city
There is the natural system, designed of creeks and rivers. Sometimes rivers are buried, flowing below the city. Sometimes rivers are flowing on the surface. The fact is that water is always flowing through rivers. When rivers are channeled (and sometimes buried) they become the city drainage system.
There is the sanitation system, made of tubes, pipes and sewage treatment plants. It's usually built by the Municipality and it is responsible for collecting and treating the sewage of houses and buildings before pouring it into rivers.
third truth: understanding how pollution reaches urban rivers
Through diffuse pollution. Rainwater flows through the surface of the city carrying the trash that our urban lifestyle produces. Municipality and citizens have to work together to stop trashing cities.
Due to poor structure. In some neighborhoods or cities, there is no sewage collection system, so citizens dump their sewage straight to creeks and rivers. In other cases, the Municipality collects the sewer, but it pours it in rivers by the lack of sewage treatment plants.
Due to clandestine connections. Some people choose to connect their sewage pipes straight to creeks and rivers, instead of making the connection in the municipal collection system, even knowing it is an illegal practice.
By 2050, 70 percent of the world's human population will be living in cities, with the greatest urban growth to occur in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
And the most rapid growth is happening in megacities.
Ban Ki-Moon