An Environmentalist, Mr Furoebi Akene, has advised Bayelsa State Government to reopen the blocked Silver River to check the spread of cholera, which has claimed over 25 lives in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state recently.
Akene, Executive Director, Centre for Environmental Preservation and Development (CEPAD), said during an interview with newsmen in Yenagoa Thursday that the blockade has worsened the spread of the infectious disease.
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According to him, the blockage had made the once freshwater, which the residents along the river depend on for drinking and domestic chores, stagnant.
He noted that the construction of the Yenagoa-Oporoma road, which led to the blockade, was avoidable as there were many alternatives.
He also appealed to the government to ensure that bridges across the rivers would have sufficient clearance to allow cargo boats and light fishing vessels to operate in the rivers.
He said: “With particular reference to the Yenagoa – Oporoma section of the road under construction, I must not fail to condemn in strong terms the closure of the Silver River near Aguobiri.
“The pattern of closure of the river is quite unprofessional and unethical of a river crossing for that class of river that has so much economic value and maritime activities.
“The blockade of the Silver River suggests to me that there is a gap somewhere, otherwise the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS) would have recommended the most appropriate method without constituting environmental economic hazards.
“Apart from the stagnation of maritime activities, already the environmental setting of the area is going through a lot of changes due to the adverse equilibrium of the ecosystem,’’ he said.