EcoPeace Middle East, the Waterkeeper for the Jordan River, organized a cleanup event at the Ziqlab dam and stream, a tributary of the Jordan River located in the Sheikh Hussein area of the Northern Jordan Valley, with youth from the local community and various other areas in Jordan. The objective of the event was to increase awareness about the Jordan River and the history of its decline, and how it can be restored. This event was held in partnership with the National Youth Camp of the Good Water Neighbors program.
During the two-hour event, which was hosted at the Jordan EcoPark, participants from EcoPeace’s Youth Water Trustees and the local community were informed about with the national, regional and international efforts to save the River and EcoPeace’s partnership with Waterkeeper Alliance. Following these introductions, the participants traveled to the nearby Ziglab stream to clean up trash around it.
To demonstrate the scale of the decline of the once “Mighty Jordan River”, the participants were taken on a tour downstream of the Ziglab stream. They saw with their own eyes how a stream, seventy-five meters wide and full of water in the past, had completely dried up. This image served to show the ecological damage that has happened on the entire length of the Jordan River and the need to restore and rehabilitate it.
After the cleanup and tour, the students were also shown a practical example of how groundwater contamination can be solved through a visit to the constructed wetland EcoPeace is building in the EcoPark. Groundwater contamination is caused by domestic cesspits and it represents a major issue in the Jordan Valley. Constructed wetlands are a form of low-cost decentralized wastewater treatment that can be applied throughout rural communities. EcoPeace’s goal will be to raise awareness about the effectiveness of constructed wetland and to work with local and central governments to build ones in Jordan Valley communities.
Youth programs have always been a core part of EcoPeace’s programs. The challenges the region faces due to water scarcity, increasing populations and climate change can only be solved if our youth are educated and empowered to work together, regionally, nationally and internationally.
Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting more than 300 Waterkeeper groups around the world, focusing citizen action on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. For more information please visit: www.waterkeeper.org
Written by: Fadi Kardan