Mayors Jump into Jordan River Cleanup Campaign

Water Diverted out of Jordan River

One problem facing the Jordan River is that much of its water is diverted at pumping stations like this one for drinking and agriculture. Mira Edelstein/Courtesy Friends of the Earth Middle East hide caption

itoggle caption Mira Edelstein/Courtesy Friends of the Earth Middle East
Low Water at Baptism Site on Jordan River

At the baptism site near Jericho, where many believe Jesus was baptized, the river can narrow to just a murky brown trickle. Mira Edelstein/Courtesy Friends of the Earth Middle East hide caption

itoggle caption Mira Edelstein/Courtesy Friends of the Earth Middle East

Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli mayors who live near the Jordan River simultaneously jumped into one of the river's tributaries on Sunday to highlight a new campaign aimed at cleaning the river up.

Although the event was promoted as the "Big Jump," the mayors got into the water with more of a little slither. And they had to jump into a tributary because the Jordan River is too polluted.

Environmental groups say the only thing flowing in the Jordan River these days is sewage. Sunday's jump was part of a series of events in six countries in the Mediterranean to raise awareness about polluted waterways.

The idea is to pressure governments to do more to clean them up. Organizers of Sunday's event say it's also a chance for Israel, Jordan and Palestinians to work together peaceably for something that will benefit all of them.

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