The value of a river to humans cannot be quantified in terms of money because they are worthy our very existence and survival on this planet. Rivers are a central part of the hydrological cycle, they carry nutrients on earth and they are habitat to hundreds if not thousands of animals. We use them as a source water, transport, defensive measure, obtaining food, sports areas, culture, religion, hydropower and a means of disposing liquid and solid waste.
With all these benefits that’s why environmentalists today are fighting hard the catastrophe of global warming that threatens the very existence of human race because without rivers extinction is inevitable. The number of major rivers we have on earth is around 170 but there are other smaller rivers accounting to more than that number and they vary in width, depth, length, season and other parameters. Here are the world’s top 10 longest rivers.
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1. Amazon River
Although there has been conflicting information that the Nile is the longest than amazon well since it’s the largest let’s give it the benefit of doubt and place it in our topmost position in our list of top 10 longest rivers. The amazon river can be found Rio De Janerio and has a length of 6,992 kilometres and has a basin length of about 7,050,000 km2 discharging its water at 209,000 cubic meters per second thus making it the largest river by discharge in the planet.in addition it is also the widest and has the largest drainage basin than any other river.
2. Nile River
The second largest which basically some people will argue it’s the longest river spreads across 6,853 kilometer’s and has its prime source on the White Nile and flows across three countries South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. The river has major two tributaries that’s the Blue Nile and the White Nile. Today river Nile plays a key role in the economy of South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Congo, Eritrea and Egypt as it has been a source of water for domestic use and irrigation and has influenced the growth of some towns such as Luxor, Cairo Aswan among others.
3. Yangtze River
In Asia we get the longest river in the continent from china and basically the third longest river in the world. The Chang Jiang or rather the Yangzi Jiang spans a length of 6,300 kilometer’s, has a basin length of up to 1,800,000km2 and originates from the Qinghai-Tibet plateau and drains the eastern part of China shanghai. This river supports nearly 1/3rd of the whole population of china as its used for agricultural purposes, transportation and plays a key role in the culture and history of the Chinese people. The river holds the record of being the longest river to flow in one country.
4. Yenisei River
The fourth largest river in our list of top 10 longest rivers is the Yenisei River also known as the Yenisey. It’s the largest river flowing into the Arctic Ocean with a length of 3443 miles and has a maximum depth of around 24 meters although its average depth is 14 meters. The Yenisei main source is the Mungaragiyn-Gol in Mongolia and drains into the Yenisei Gulf. Some of its tributaries are Angara, Nizhnyaya Tunguska, and Tuba. Its basin is around 2,580,000 km2.
5. Yellow River
Popularly known by the locals as the Huang He is the fifth longest river in the world and the second most longest river in China. It’s found in the western part of China and measures around 3395 miles. The Yellow River’s primary water source is in the Bayer Har Mountains in Qinghai province western China and flows across nine provinces to empty its water in the Bohai Sea. This river has a culture significance to the Chinese people as they believe it’s the birth place of civilisation and a symbol of spiritual home. Today the river is being used to generate Hydro-Electric power and also for aquaculture.
6. Ob River
You will find this river in Russia and western Siberia. It’s about 3,395 miles long and has a drainage of about 2,990,000 square kilometres. its main source is in the Altay Mountains and drains in the Arctic Ocean. Its estuary the Gulf of Ob is the longest in the world. today this river is used for irrigation generation of HEP and fishing.
7. Parana River
South America has yet another river which is the second longest in the continent after Amazon measuring 4,880 kilometers. The river flows through three countries; Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay and its main source is in Brazil where the Paranaiba and Rio Grande rivers meet and It drains its water in the Atlantic Ocean. The river has a drainage area of 2,582,672 km2 square kilometers and the most significant feature on the Parana River is the Iguazu Falls which is known worldwide for its alluring scenery. Today the river plays a very important role in the economy of South America as it’s the home of second biggest man made dam in the world The Itaipu Dam which generates enough HEP for the three countries and also it’s a major source of fish.
8. Mississippi River
Mississippi means the great river. With 2320 miles long the river flows entirely through the United States and its main source being Lake Itasca. Mississipi river empties into the Gulf of Mexico and its drainage basin is around 3,220,000 km2. Being one of the most fertile rivers in the world the river is used by the people for irrigation and fishing.
9. Congo River
The river Congo as the name goes is located in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).it stretches to a length of 2920 miles and holds the second position in Africa after Nile for being the second longest. The river also hold the crown for being the deepest river in the world with a depth of 220 meters and it’s the second largest in volume discharge. Its main source is in the highland of the East African Rift and forms the Congo basin which is the second largest river basin after the Amazon basin. Congo river is of huge economic important the people of Congo and neighboring countries since its easy navigability ports have been set up such as the Mbandaka Port. The Congo is used to generate Hydro-Electric Power and it accounts for almost 13% of all HEP power produced in the world. It is also the major source of fish in the DRC.the river drains into Atlantic Ocean.
10. Amur River
At the base of our list of top 10 longest rivers we have the Amur River which is located near the eastern boarder of Russia and China. The river is 1,755 miles long and its primary source is in the Western Manchuria hills and has two major tributaries the Shilka River and the Argun River. The river drains its waters in the Pacific Ocean through the strait of Tartary and forms a basin of 1,855,000 km2.This river is mainly used for fishing and other transport activities.
These are the largest rivers on earth and we are in agreement that they are a vital part of our living. As a closing remark let’s put into practice the definition of the Brundtland Commission 1987 that “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs”