Big Jump - A European River Swimming Day

In the past 100 years, European rivers served as rubbish dumps, and through overuse almost all life was wiped out. 25 years ago people changed their attitude. Today on the Rhine, Lore and on other rivers, in many places, the water has reached bathing water standards. The bio-diversity has increased, salmon have returned, angling has become interesting again and the fish can be eaten in good conscience. The sounds of laughing children can be heard here and there, and at some beaches life has returned, you can watch bathers and canoeists.

On 17th July 2005, throughout Europe, celebrations along many rivers will be held. Roberto Epple, Director of the European Rivers Network and initiator of the Elbe Swimming Day says: ?The international Elbe Swimming Day will take place simultaneously with the Big Jump, the first European river bathing day, modelled on the Elbe Swimming Day. Many European organisations along 30 European rivers will participate in the festivities? (www.bigjump.org).

Through this joint action people throughout Europe express their wishes to have their rivers living and clean again, to restore the natural functions of floodplains in view of the ecological flood prevention. Living rivers are habitats for animals and plants and serve as recreation areas as well (see also www.ern.org).