WE seem to just cannot learn our lessons.
Past disasters have been blamed on artificial developments along or near rivers.
The calamitous flash-flood of April 2014 was blamed on logging activities in Mataniko’s upstream, which created a barricade of logs and debris – which gave way during the heavy rain and caused the flash flood.
Several bridges in the Guadalcanal plains, east of Honiara have had their entrances washed away.
Why? One of the contributing factors was clogged under-bridges by logs and debris, causing water to deflect sidewards and digging out the bridges’ entrances.
Current developments in the eastern side of the Lungga bridge should thus be cause for alarm.
A company is reportedly dredging the eastern side of the Lungga river banks, just metres from the bridge.
Officials from the ministry of mines have decried this development saying that it is directly compromising the bridge structure and putting the lives of surrounding communities at risk.
There’s also the allegations which challenge the legality of the company’s operations. But that is a separate matter, which might pop up in our discussions later (probably sooner than some think).
Back to the environmental aspects of this development, riverbanks are nature’s buffers which mitigate the effects and impacts of the immense force and energy in a raging river.
Take this buffer away and you’re exposing everything to raw destructive power.
The Lunga bridge structure over the years has had its foundation protected by the very gravels that are being removed.
Therefore, it won’t be far-fetched to predict that coming floods will eventually dig out the bridge’s foundations or even eat away at the east and west-end entrances.
Such results would be catastrophic.
To generalise, it would be an impeding situation for the capital’s transportation, businesses, trade and commerce, would even halt flights.
It’s even scarier to imagine the effects on the lives of people in the surrounding communities of the Lunga bridge.
It is also note-worthy that we are in the rainy season, which reinforces the need to have this operation stopped immediately.
There is no luxury of a dry season with which to linger.
Authorities responsible should step in now and not tarry.
It’s better to address it now than be forever haunted by hind-sight regrets.