The Rivers

Introduction

First and foremost, a river, as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “a natural stream of water of usually considerable volume”. And often the case seen throughout history, they had major roles in the birth of civilisations; from the great and famous Egyptian civilisation, starting when it was unified around 3100 B.C. to its conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C., that developed with the help of the Nile to the Chinese civilisation that sprung forth from the “the Mother River”/”the Cradle of the Chinese civilization” the Yellow River. Simply, rivers aided in agricultural pursuits and since many people back in those days were agriculturally inclined folks, it just fit perfectly.

 

The significance of the river

Some very interesting legends have arisen regarding rivers. One of the more popular myths in Ancient Egypt, and one that also has varying accounts as old myths often do, was that of Osiris being ripped into pieces by his jealous and volatile younger brother Set, right after tricking him into laying in a coffin. There was a whole movie about this specific legend regarding Horus avenging his father Osiris back in 2016. The movie was “Gods of Egypt”, if I recall correctly.

Anyway, in the legend, Isis, Osiris’ wife (definitely NOT the infamous terrorist group in the Middle East), picked up all 36 pieces of him and put him back together, but because she couldn’t find the rest of him, including his penis, he was less than alive. So this made him the Lord of the Afterlife instead of being what he was before – the king of all the living, having been the successor of his father Ra. But the point is, because of what had happened, with his penis having been dropped into the river and eaten by a crocodile, the river became a symbol of fertility, which is very true to its nature as the origin point of most civilisations, giving life to the people on land.

As it has been said, the Nile was equated with life: when the Nile flooded, it brought prosperity and fertility to the life surrounding it, but if it didn’t rise enough, famine would take over. If it rose too much, floods abound and people would lose their homes (which were often made from clay).

While nurturing to the people living near it as a mother would be to her children, the river’s duality also exhibits an entity capable of great destruction.

In Chinese folklore, He Bo was the “Earl of the Yellow River” an ancient deity who was once a mortal human, but was pitied by the Celestial Emperor when he drowned in the river, so he turned him into a water god in the shape of a white dragon. In some other accounts, he was a fish with a human face.

Myths and folklores, y’know. They’re never really clear…

At one point in time, he was very violent with his management of the Yellow River, many devastating floods, and so he lost his left eye due to the brilliant aim of this famous archer named Hou Yi. Point is, offerings were regularly brought to the Lord of the Yellow River and his wife so as to appease the floods. Or for the souls of the people that had drowned in the floods as well.

In these two examples, it can be perfectly seen how people of old saw rivers as both bearers of great bounty or the wrathful vengeance from the gods on wrong deeds done.

 

Cause of river pollution

But let’s get back to reality.

During the Industrial Revolution that began in Britain in the late 1700 by producing manufacture products in homes using hand tools or basic machines. As these industries are usually built near rivers or lakes, the waste products from the industries are released into them. And as more people migrated to large industrial cities, the more densely populated cities became. Now, during this time, methods for human and animal waste disposal were quite primitive. Some did have drainage systems, but they just weren’t sanitary enough.

A third of households contained no latrines in Manchester at the time and the infrastructures that do would be collect in cesspits under the buildings and, more often than not, drained into rivers. These very rivers were also the source of drinking water, which led to people becoming ill. London is a great example of this. Sewage draining was often leaked into the River Thames, even though it was a major drinking source for the people of London. This led to a Cholera Epidemic and the Great Stink in July and August 1858 during which the hot weather worsened the smell of untreated human and industrial waste that was on the banks of the River Thames.

In the case of the Thames, it was considered biologically dead for many years because of these events.

The exact number of how many rivers there are in the world is hard to pinpoint, but it’s safest to say that there are thousands of rivers, both major and minor, with the longest river being that of the Amazon River, running a course of approximately 6,992 km.

But all these rivers are facing a crisis – a man-made crisis. River pollution is becoming a common factor among many of them. Some are fortunate, however, for being treated with utmost care.

 

Causes of River Pollution

What, then, are the causes of river pollution, you ask? Rapid growth in industrialization, with their liquid waste being dumped into rivers. Air is also polluted due to industrialization, which leads to acid rain. Some agricultural practices wherein chemical fertilisers and pesticides are used also contribute to river pollution through runoffs, as rainwater drains these chemicals into rivers. Domestic wastage, wherein rivers suffer the brunt of household garbage, and as populations grow with no education on river cleanliness, they will continue to dump into rivers.

Heavy metals like cadmium, lead, nickel, and zinc can wash off into streams that lead to rivers from ore-smelting industries where they’re being mined and processed.

All these have just turned rivers into sewage carrying drains that is bringing carnage to our wildlife, which is pretty shameful to have done to an element of nature known for its grace, tranquillity, and life-sustaining properties.

 

What are the most polluted rivers?

According to HelpSaveNature.com, the following are three of the top 10 most polluted rivers in the world:

  1. Marilao River, Philippines
    1. Hazardous non-recyclable objects like plastic bottles and rubber slippers are normally found floating on it.
    2. All sorts of toxic industrial waste products are dumped into the river each day.
    3. Household garbage is also discarded in astonishing quantities.
  2. Yellow River, China
    1. 2nd longest river in Asia and 6th longest in the world
    2. Once considered the cradle of Chinese civilization and main source of drinking water, but now 1/3 of it is unusable.
    3. About 4.29 billion tons of industrial waste and sewage was discharged into it in 1996.
    4. The river water also turned red of late in Lanzhou City due to some unidentified contaminant from a local industry
  3. Ganges River, India
    1. Considered the holiest river in Hinduism.
    2. Ranked one of the five most polluted rivers in 2007.
    3. The pollutants range from toxic industrial waste to sewage to plastics and innumerable religious offerings made to the river each day.
    4. People bathe in the ‘holy’ waters, wash their clothes, cook on its banks, and dispatch dead bodies.
    5. According to a recent study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Ganges is so full of toxic pollutants that people staying close to its banks are more susceptible to cancer than anywhere else in India.

 

Any noteworthy successful cleaning operations?

In 1957, the Natural History Museum declared the Thames biologically dead. But in recent years, it has made a turn from the worst, with some living organisms now found within, living their lives. In 1960s onward, when London’s sewage system was slowly being improved was there any noticeable change for the river. There are now 125 species of fish in the Thames, which is more than almost none in the 1950s.

Between the 1970s and 1980s, environmental awareness increased and more people became concerned over runoffs that contained pesticides and fertilizers. Regulations tightened and this is known to be one of the factors that has aided in improving the Thames’ conditions.

Chris Coode, the deputy chief executive of Thames21, a charity dedicated to improving London’s waterways, has even said he is most excited about the return of the sea lampreys.

“They’re ancient, jawless, eel-like creatures that latch onto the sides of larger fish and suck their juices out. They are very sensitive to pollution.”

 

New technology that’s helped improve river pollution conditions?

New tech has been developed in recent years to clean water in general and these technologies are quite applicable in river terms.

As CNN Tech reported, moss can be used as a water treatment method. David Knighton was on a return flight from Europe a few years back and was reading an article on how injured WWI soldiers who had their wounds staunched with sphagnum moss had higher survival rates than those that used cotton. Being a retired surgeon (from the Minneapolis-area), he applied his medical knowledge and researched in old medical journals to confirm his theory that moss had antibacterial properties. Now, he’s the CEO of Creative Water Solutions, and they use a variety of moss to purify water. They package moss for residential swimming pools and spas, and they also crated a ton of moss for larger industrial applications. With cleaner water at these levels, the water that may end up getting dumped will also be cleaner.

“As with any disruptive technology, sales take a while because people just don’t believe you,” he said, as their sales growing by 30-40% every year, with their tech employed by more industrial facilities and residential pools.

There’s also another tech called the PhyloChip that helps pinpoint sources of water contamination. It is a device that’s the size of a credit card, and is capable of detecting the presence of more than 60,000 species of bacteria and archaea. Plus this method has been found to be more sensitive than conventional methods at assessing health risks.  It has successfully detected contamination in the Russian River watershed, which came from human sources close to areas where communities rely on aging septic tanks.

This method doesn’t distinguish between sources­ though. The bacteria could have come from humans, cows, ducks, sewage, or even decaying vegetation. However, it has had quite a success story in terms of where it’s been applied.

The PhyloChip, which was developed by Andersen and several other Berkeley Lab scientists, has been used for “a number of medical, agricultural, and environmental purposes, including understanding air pollution, the ecology of coral reefs, and environmental conditions of the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill. With 1 million probes, it has identified microbes based on variations of a specific gene, with no culturing needed.”

They are now working closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for “next generation compliance.” Its goal is to develop a method that’s downsized from what the PhyloChip is capable of for universal application in any location and by non-experts.

 

How can the clean state of rivers be maintained?

As prepared by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, these are some simple and common-sensical things they’ve said that would maintain river health:

  • Use mulch and vegetation to keep soil from washing away.
  • Sweep or rake grass and leaves away from street curbs.
  • Mulch and compost grass clippings and leaves.
  • Keep paved surfaces to a minimum.
  • Capture water runoff with a rain garden and rain barrels.
  • Wash your car on the grass, where the water will get filtered.
  • Keep chemicals away from storm drains.
  • Collect your pet’s waste.
  • Aim your rain-gutter downspouts onto grass.

 

Bibliography

9 tips for keeping our lakes and rivers clean. (2017, May 18). Retrieved from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/featured/9-tips-keeping-our-lakes-and-rivers-clean

Chao, J. (2016, October 4). New Technology Helps Pinpoint Sources of Water Contamination. Retrieved from Berkeley Lab: http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2016/10/04/new-technology-helps-pinpoint-sources-water-contamination/

Dictionary, M.-W. (2018). River. Retrieved from Merriam-Webster Dictionary: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/river

Fassbender, M. (2008). The Importance of River Valleys to Ancient Civilizations. Retrieved from Michael Fassbender: Depth and Integration: http://michaeltfassbender.com/nonfiction/ancient-history/the-importance-of-river-valleys-to-ancient-civilizations/

Foundation, J. (1998). River Pollution: Causes, Actions and Revivals. New Delhi.

Hardach, S. (2015, November 12). How the River Thames was brought back from the dead. Retrieved from BBC.com: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20151111-how-the-river-thames-was-brought-back-from-the-dead

Hargreaves, S. (2015, June 3). 3 cool technologies that could save the world’s water. Retrieved from CNN: http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/02/technology/water-cleaning-technology/index.html

Mark, J. J. (2009, September 2). Nile. Retrieved from Ancient History Encyclopedia: https://www.ancient.eu/nile/

Ragab. (2016, July 15). The Ancient Mythology of the Nile. Retrieved from Luxor Travels: http://www.luxortravels.com/blog/the-ancient-mythology-of-the-nile/

Tha, N. Y. (2013, May 26). The Impact Of Industrialization On Water Pollution Environmental Sciences Essay. Retrieved from https://www.uniassignment.com/essay-samples/environmental-sciences/the-impact-of-industrialization-on-water-pollution-environmental-sciences-essay.php

Theobald, U. (2012, January 23). He Bo 河伯, the Earl of the Yellow River. Retrieved from China Knowledge.de: An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art: http://www.chinaknowledge.de/History/Myth/personshebo.html

Wise, W. (2018). Substances Causing Pollution in Rivers . Retrieved from Water Wise: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.waterwise.co.za/water/environment/substances.html&num=1&strip=1&vwsrc=0

World’s Top 10 Most Polluted Rivers: The Names Will Scare You. (2018). Retrieved from HelpSaveNature: https://helpsavenature.com/top-ten-most-polluted-rivers-of-world

 

 

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Unplug – A Video Poem

Poem: Unplug
Written and Voiced by: Claire Jirah Dacay
Animated by: Judalyn Ferrer and Rafelle Marie Timog Allego

Music: Everdream Composer: Cesc Vila Aulina (SGAE)
Album: Sigma (https://itunes.apple.com/fr/album/sig…)

The music used can also be found here:
https://soundcloud.com/epicsoulfactory
http://www.epicsoulfactory.com/
https://www.facebook.com/epicsoulfactory
http://www.reallyslowmotion.com/

This was created as the final output for our Media Production class. Roughest of animation attempts, but it was fun making it. Sound kind of a fail though…but we’re pretty lucky to have found a song that matched the feel we wanted though!

Every day you hear the monotonous hum of your phone turning on
Then get sucked into this world where you live through other people’s lives
And you continue to walk on your own path while wishing you were in someone else’s
Suddenly you see your hair isn’t as shiny as hers
Your belly not as tight as his
And you spiral down into a hole of self-pity and eventual personal destruction.

Your cup of coffee turns into a cropped photo, all in for the show
Because what else can you do? What else needs to be done?
We show how to live a life all at the same time losing it all for the gram
This facade you keep while slowly losing your grip
Like an addiction, but far, far worse

We rush and run and go round and round
And we sometimes just forget to STOP
And look around
Look at yourself, do you still think you’re you?

You want to run the short marathon to nab the trophy that shines
Not realizing the best marathon won has the longest miles
We see what we don’t have and translate that as having less
We feel broke, we feel empty, we feel alone and we feel depressed
And we find the need to quickly succeed, telling the world I’m gonna be rich, you’ll see.
But silver and gold don’t hug you when you sleep,
And popularity don’t count when you’re 7 meters underneath
You are more than a deadline
You are squiggles of rights and wrongs and boundless possibilities
A seed that can grow into any tree
Cultivated not by the thoughts around you, but your thoughts about everything else

You see, you forget that you can be anything
Because at times you already see yourself as a nothing
Which puts a dot into a sentence that was never meant to end.
Unplug
When you go outside you can see that the trees don’t compete with the bushes
Unplug
When you wake up you don’t even realize your body worked hard to keep you alive
Unplug
Drink your water, walk with your friends, and eat your greens
Unplug
Whether the sun rays hit your cheeks or the rain kisses your feet

Because you’ve been living way too fast and you don’t know how to slow down

Unplug
All this time you wonder why. Maybe, just maybe, that’s all because you forgot.
To unplug

These are just my thoughts from a post ABS-CBN made some weeks ago:

Why not try making your own original story first with a good plot based on ACTUAL Philippine folklore that’s been researched into with as much gravity as that in which J. R. R. Tolkien did for his amazing works? The Silmarillion alone is an extensive narrative that looked into the inner workings of Eä and would be necessary to read through to create any film that’s based in THAT universe for it to be legitimate at all.

As it has been mentioned in Variety’s article “16 Things You Didn’t Know About the Making of ‘Lord of the Rings’” (http://variety.com/…/lord-of-the-rings-making-of-backstory…/), “A production team of over 2,400 and 26,000 extras worked on the films for five years.” 64 miniature sets were created, with “some so detailed that the larger ones were known as “bigatures”.

Even Peter Jackson, the director of both film trilogies based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s works, said as much behind the work required to recreate the literature; “I had to create the most believable world I could. The decision was to make it feel very historical, with the levels of detail creating the illusion that the viewers were immersing themselves in a real world”. Their budget was ginormous, reaching $281 million (Source: https://variety.com/…/hobbit-trilogy-has-cost-561-million-…/).

Since the Lord of the Rings Trilogy is a universe based on Norse and general Germanic mythology, as well as Celtic, Slavic, Persian, Greek, and Finnish mythology, it’s justifiable that the actors they used for the original trilogy (and the succeeding cinematic trilogy created that was based on the prequel “The Hobbit”) were all of Caucasian descent; it just made sense.

Remaking it in the Philippines would be a great insult to J. R. R. Tolkien’s memory, his son Christopher Tolkien’s efforts in editing most of his father’s posthumously published work, and to the rest of the Tolkien fandom, especially considering the current production quality of Filipino films (which isn’t bad, but it would be a great let-down for the massive diehard fans of Middle Earth if it weren’t up to the international standards of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”; it still needs a lot more work).

The Philippines has a rich oral and literary narrative if people were to just dig it up and research about them (or even just consult the experts who’ve been studying the subject for so many years who have many great ideas themselves), and it’s just there wasting away instead of having more people attempt to preserve it by putting it on a medium that’s most accessible for the general populace. Why look outward, when we have so many stories we can tell right here in our own country? Maybe do something similar to what J. R. R. Tolkien did to create his extremely rich world and do research into the many different parts of the Philippines (actual REAL linguistic and regional-cultural research, and not just a quick surface allusion) to create something even more original than LOTR.

The Philippines has a great talent pool for this sort of thing that’s just being side-stepped in mainstream media for whatever can bring in the big bucks. We have the capacity to create something as great as Lord of the Rings and even Game of Thrones, if only the right talents were tapped and if sacrifices were made to create the art Filipinos deserve.

For what are proper films and TV shows, but art that reflects a society’s culture.

Please, let’s not have our media be more of a laughing stock than it already is.

Just Thoughts Triggered From A Video

Thoughts during/after watching this video on YouTube:
It would be wonderful if most depictions of masculinity in films and television shows were to change. The prevalent trends today limit male heroes with roles where they either are “autonomous, brazen, and physically strong” or are “witty, boisterous, and charismatic”. When it comes to vulnerability? They’re supposed to hide it.
“We learn to easily forgive aggression and arrogance in men but to take exception at presentations of humility or sensitivity. We’re accustomed to seeing men who are quick to violence and slow to diplomacy.”
Says quite a lot about the values being taught to men through the media really…
Being sincere, nurturing, emotional, and sensitive, where “sensitivity is framed as a strength rather than a weakness”. That’s what Newt shows. And it is pretty refreshing to see a main male character depicted this way.
Contrary to popular belief, vulnerability is not “weak”. Rather, it is a strength to even show vulnerability as it takes a whole lot of courage just to BE vulnerable.
Anyhow, long story short. I am truly thankful and blessed for the sensitive men in my life. Also, media kinda sucks when it represents the genders.

Does Anger Ever Solve War?

Talking talking talking
Never listening
Talking over each other
Talking under each other
But never, ever listening

TOXIC

Talking talking talking
Always talking
Talking over one another
Competing to be heard
But never, ever listening

Incessant noise…

Hypothesising mistakes
Revelling in complaints
Drowned in hatred and ill-will

Hypocrisy, Pride
Fighting for respect, but not respecting
Despising the entitled, yet being entitled
No better than a keyboard warrior

Just Toxic

Slow down, reflect
Let go of emotions

THINK

Does anger ever solve war?

Just Thoughts…

Does everything I do have to have some sort of academic purpose just because I’m a student?

That question is something that has entered my mind thrice now; first was on Friday (Chinese New Year holiday when we went to Carcar to pick up our shoe orders), second was yesterday (Saturday; had a makeup class), and third was today (Sunday; read a book, wrote a little, went to church, went home, worked out, then read/wrote).

On each occasion, I was involved with something I was just doing as a past-time. Hobby, if you will. There really was no relation between what I was doing with academics. I just felt like working on those hobbies at those times.

I know it seems odd that I enjoy some of the things I do on my own time without anything grade-related motivating me to do it, but it’s true. I just feel like working on my in-progress-hard-af-to-focus-on manuscript, taking random photos with my DSLR, reading a book that’s not part of a class’s must-read list, blogging about nothing, and working out whenever I want, wherever I like.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that what I do at times has nothing to do with my academic career and this sort of thing should be more of a norm (maybe it’s just here) that people let people be for what they want to do without unnecessary commentary and/or questions.

Closing message: Your life now (as a college student) should be more than just your academic struggles. Sure, it can get tough at times, but don’t get so hung up on it that it becomes an obsession/only thing on your mind. Put in some of the things you enjoy doing into your life as well and come out of college having not only good/semi-okay grades, but actual hobby-like-things you can continue past college.

Also, grades aren’t everything.