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WWF: World's top 10 rivers endangered

Geneva: Climate change, pollution, over extraction of water and development are killing some of the world's most famous rivers including China's Yangtze, India's Ganges and Africa's Nile, conservation group WWF said this week.

At the global launch of its report "World's Top 10 Rivers at Risk", the Geneva-based group said many rivers could dry out, affecting hundreds of millions of people and killing unique aquatic life.

"If these rivers die, millions will lose their livelihoods, biodiversity will be destroyed on a massive scale, there will be less fresh water and agriculture, resulting in less food security," said Ravi Singh, secretary-general of WWF-India. The report, launched ahead of "World Water Day" this week, also cited the Rio Grande in the United States, the Mekong and Indus in Asia, Europe's Danube, La Plata in South America and Australia's Murray-Darling as in need of greater protection.

The Yangtze basin is one of the most polluted rivers in the world because of decades of heavy industrialization, damming and huge influxes of sediment from land conversion. As trade takes off dramatically along the Yangtze, new trading routes will have to be considered if droughts such as the current one around Chongqing persist. This and many more issues are set to be under the spotlight on April 12 at the Regal Hotel in Shanghai for the inaugural Yangtze Business Network, a one day gathering that will bring together port authorities, lines and shippers to work out how best to maximize the potential of China's longest river as a transportation corridor.  [22/03/07]

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