An offering to a river with Solomon Islands in mind

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I was pleased to read a report in yesterday’s Island Sun newspaper which foretold that the Solomon Islands Government will, next year, launch another report on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

I will be keen to learn what the government has done, and intends to do further, to address biodiversity decline and pollution at home.

I mention pollution in relation to the protection of the environment because of what I have come to learn of the pollution of the Mataniko River being used as a dumping site for household rubbish and other forms of garbage, including plastics.

What should be a pristine river is now so badly polluted by rubbish, I am reliably told, all forms of life in the river may have died or are continuing to die.

I know that a start was made to raise public awareness of keeping the river free from pollutants such as rubbish but gather despite some good progress with a river clean-up project the Mataniko river still remains relatively polluted from liquid and solid waste from human settlement, residential areas and shops operating and living adjacent to the river.

It is clearly an ongoing challenge to the local authorities and the volunteers to bring about a change in mindset about the disposal of rubbish into the river and they should be congratulated on their efforts to date, but much more needs to be done to eradicate the waste disposal continually occurring.

Tonight, Thursday, 22 November 2018, I will be mindful of what I have written about the pollution in the Mataniko River because of a thoughtful ceremony taking place in Thailand called Loi Krathong.

The ceremonial festival is celebrated annually throughout Thailand on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar.

The festival may have originated from an ancient rural ritual paying respect to the water spirits and these days a way of expressing regret for having in any way polluted or misused the river.

During Loi Krathong, which generally last three days, Thai people go to a river, canal or pond where they float hand-made krathongs, made from a banana tree trunk and banana leaves, held together with pins, and decorated with flowers. They usually make a wish when placing their krathong on the water.

These days, krathongs are more often made of bread so it will disintegrate after a few days and can be eaten by fish. Banana stalk krathongs are also biodegradable.

Some krathongs are decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, three incense sticks, and a candle.

As I put my own krathong on the local river this evening I will make a wish for a pristine Mataniko River and for better public awareness of the duty and responsibility to keep it that way for all to enjoy.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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