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A river that looks like a growing, vibrant forest; another river that became the dumping ground for discarded steel and concrete; yet another waterway that was once as crystal clear as emerald has become murky and dark.

In recent weeks disturbing news of these incidents of environmental degradation has exploded, especially on social media, causing people to wonder whether Dominica should still be selling itself as the Nature Island of the Caribbean.

"This is false advertising," said environmentalist Athie Martin on a talk show on Q95FM recently.

Martin was correct in at least one instance- the once pristine Roseau River, the pride and joy of residents of the City- has been disastrously changing right before their eyes.

At the moment the former majestic and clean river is fast becoming a growing forest where Bwa-flo and other species flourish.

The Roseau River "could do without these large river islets," a forest officer told the Sun about two years ago. He suggested that the weeds and trees started growing on the banks and bed of the Roseau River when sentiment from landslides upstream provided nourishment for the growth of plants downstream.

"This occurs after a major water-related disaster where the river at lower elevations and gentle slopes will accumulate sediments of high nutrients content hence the rapid growth, but the dredging needs to create the possibility of flushing out those after the flow of debris from eroding landslides and excavation upstream," the officer said. Another major change has occurred in the appearance of the Roseau River, as our photograph illustrates, at the Bath Estate section of the Roseau River near the newly constructed City Breeze apartments where workmen are currently constructing a river wall to protect "City Breeze" homes.

Then last week, Tyron "Blessings" Antony, a resident of St. Joseph, reported on social media that a construction firm had dumped loads of concrete on the banks of the Layou River near Hillsborough.

"You seeing steel, you seeing pieces of steel, my brethren," Blessings said in an amateur video on Facebook. "The hazard is when river come and take all of that and bring it (down) and tourist coming and river tubing and people coming to take a little dive."

Additionally, a few weeks earlier the once crystal clear Emerald Pool, a major tourist attraction, was being contaminated by sand, caused by the harvesting of tarish upstream.

A letter from a forest officer to his superiors was leaked on social media alleging that a road construction company had harvested sand, leaving a naked mountainside, inside the UNESCO World Heritage site.

"I was in shock and at a loss for words," wrote the forestry in the letter that has not been independently confirmed.


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