In January, a group of environmental enthusiasts established an epic kayak marathon that goes along the entire Donjiang river, lasting for 15 days, to raise awareness of water quality. Starting from Heyuan City, east of Guangdong, the Dongjiang River (or East River) goes through Huizhou, then Dongguan, and ends at the Pearl River. It supplies water to nearly 40 million people including residents of Dongguan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong.
Launched by the Guangzhou Canoe Union and Greenovation Hub, a grass-root environmental NGO in Guangdong, the marathon begins at the river origins, Yajibo Mountain in Xunwu County, Jiangxi Province. The562-km river is divided into 13 sections and stops. On January 12, they passed Sandalwood Island in Shijie, the penultimate stop on the trip. A day later they were rowing in the Pearl River. The rowers collected water samples on every section of the river and sent them to the Greenovation Hub for further research.
“In this activity, we go through the entire river. We see the water quality with our own eyes, and we also see where it should be improved and where should be kept better,” said participant Lu Shihui. “After those three days my view of kayaking completely changed, in fact I didn’t know or even imagine all the hard work behind this,” commented Vicky from France, who joined on the first three days. The event is set to continue every year as the group hope to continually raise awareness about the condition of Chinese waterways.