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Rivers are an essential part of the natural environment, providing a source of water and energy for many species of plants and animals. They also provide a means for humans to transport goods, travel, and irrigate crops. Rivers have been used as a source of sustenance since ancient times, with many civilizations relying on them for food and transportation.
Rivers provide habitat for fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and other aquatic organisms. They also play an important role in the hydrological cycle by carrying water from higher elevations to lower ones where it can be stored in reservoirs or released into the ocean. In addition to their ecological importance, rivers are also important sources of recreation such as fishing or rafting.
Rivers can be classified according to their size: large rivers such as the Amazon or Mississippi; medium-sized rivers like the Colorado; small streams like those found in mountain regions; and even tiny creeks that may only flow during certain times of year. The shape of a river is determined by its course – how it winds through hillsides or valleys – as well as its speed (which is affected by factors such as elevation changes).
The health of any river system depends on how much pollution it receives from human activities such as farming or industry. Pollution can come from runoff containing fertilizers or pesticides that enter waterways after rainfall events; industrial waste discharged directly into rivers; sewage overflows caused by stormwater runoff; oil spills from ships; and even garbage dumped directly into waterways by people living nearby. All these pollutants can cause harm to aquatic life forms living in the river system if they become too concentrated over time due to lack of dilution with fresh water inputs from upstream sources like snowmelt or rainfall events.
In order to protect our valuable freshwater resources we must take steps towards reducing our impact on them through better land use practices that reduce runoff pollution entering waterways (such as planting vegetation along stream banks) and improved wastewater treatment processes at factories discharging effluent into rivers downstream from populated areas. We must also work together at local levels to ensure that everyone has access to clean drinking water so that we don’t have communities relying on polluted sources for their daily needs which could lead to serious health problems down the line if left unchecked!