Matanikau River – a natural beauty so polluted and Honiara’s embarrassment

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DEAR EDITOR, if you are in Honiara, take a walk down to one of the two bridges that links the east bank to the west bank of the Matanikau River: take a good look and capture the natural beauty of the flow of the river and how nature, over many years had been able to carve the landscape and course of the river fitting enough only to the Creators’ purpose for life’s’ survival – ecosystem.

Matanikau River, flows through the heart of Honiara Township, nurturing and feeding the diversity of life that inhabited its ecosystem. Its banks were once graced with beautiful rain forests providing a canopy for the early settlers of the Matanikau area and the wild animals that once roamed that cooler rainforest of the riverbank. During the day and at night, it is a natural conditioner, cooling the city’s’ surroundings and making life a little more bearable under the scourging heat of the sun.

For the early settlers of Matanikau, the river had been a long life companion whose physical attributes could be seen, heard, felt, taste, smelt and understood within the language of their day to day needs for survival.

For them, the river was their store house of fish, shellfish, prawns, mud crabs and fresh water eels.

Throughout history, the river has been used as a major source of transportation, water, food, and livelihood for a larger part of Honiara people living around the Matanikau area.

Today, the plight of Matanikau River can now be seen, heard, felt, taste and smelt for the worse.

Despite its natural beauty, Matanikau River downstream is heavily poisoned by human activities and its current state seems irreversible.

Our attitudes toward one of natures’ lifeblood have been very disastrous and irresponsible.

That situation is a pointer warning us of the emerging ecological crisis that could eventuate if we continue to disregard the `signs of time’.

Polluted water transforms nourishment into poison. Absence of water kills very quickly, but not quickly enough for the terrible suffering of thirsty people and land.

With increasing population and human activities, effluent discharges from the Tuvaruhu sewage and the ongoing dumping of household rubbish into tributaries around Green Valley via Zion to Vara Creek that flows into Matanikau River, the water has became so saturated with garbage to the extent that its eco-system could hardly mitigate its own survival.

Sooner, the river will be unable to support any more aquatic life and surely what others enjoyed seeing yesteryears and today would merely be something our future generation would only read about them in textbooks.

Ironically, human beings made in the Image of God, made environment adapt to them rather than them adapting to the environment: other living things adapt to environment.

We are treating our river, in an inhuman, godforsaken manner precisely because we see ourselves as masters over creation.

Our faith in God challenges us to be proactive in caring for what matters most for us.

Human beings should transform nature with the understanding that it is a gift from God, knowing that once the transformation is effected, the creation must be offered back to God.

As Christians, do we really care about what God has blessed us with: are we going to rehabilitate Matanikau River or over dose it?

Care of water resources are matters of grave importance for the entire human family, all of us Christians need to contribute positively to the welfare of Matanikau River.

By AM Junia,

Port Adam, Small Malaita

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