Jamaica’s rivers and gullies are suffering from abuse

Petchary's Blog

Today is World Rivers Day. It is observed on the fourth Sunday in September every year, I have learned. It was founded by a Canadian, Mark Angelo, a long-time river advocate who spoke at the United Nations in 2005 as part of its Water for Life campaign.

Jamaican rivers are very different, of course, from the mighty rivers of British Columbia. They may disappear for months, even years due to drought (like the Yallahs River), or transform into unruly torrents during heavy rains, breaking their banks and creating chaos. Some rivers, especially those adjoining mangrove swamps, seem to remain constant, moving sometimes dark and sluggish and, at times, crystalline.

This year’s World Rivers Day theme is urban waterways. This is not a happy topic for Jamaica. In Kingston, Montego Bay and even smaller coastal towns, our waterways are our gullies. Often festooned with garbage, they are ugly spaces where…

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