Clean Up Toxic, Garbage-Filled River

Target: Antònio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations

Goal: Clean up the Otamiri River in order to save the populations that rely on it.

The Otamiri River in Nigeria has been degraded through human activity for years. It has gotten to the point where the river is filled from bank to bank with garbage and other man-made debris in some places. Scientists have once again had to warn all of the communities that rely on this water that it is not safe for use.

This is a problem that is all too common when it comes to countries in the process of “development.” The process of rapid urbanization and population growth without proper waste disposal procedures leads to massive amounts of pollution in very necessary resource areas. Communities in the process of development need a clean, reliable water source to sustain their growth and provide necessary resources.

We live in a world with unprecedented access to technology and resources, yet still, countless communities face a lack of resources, even in areas that were once plentiful. This is the legacy of colonialism, and the Otamiri River is just another example of how these communities are kept in perpetual poverty while the Global North profits from their labor.

Systems of development are put in place by larger nations in countries like Nigeria with no thought toward health or the sustainable growth of the population and economy. The only thought is on short-term gain, and how to put the most profitable industry into an area as quickly as possible.

We must begin to protect our fellow humans, who have been given the short end of the stick in the history of our world. Sign this petition to clean up the Otamiri River and help Nigeria develop in a way that sustains their culture as well as the environment.


Dear Mr. Guterres,

The Otamiri River has been polluted for decades. The people of Owerri Municipal in Nigeria have recently been warned by scientists about the poor quality of their water. This pollution in the river comes from years of poor waste management systems and poor infrastructure in general. It has gotten to the point where in parts, the entire river is covered in garbage and debris.

This river needs to be cleaned up. Countless communities rely on Otamiri for water when the city can’t provide it, which is often. Not only is this river a necessity in times of water scarcity, but a necessity in general if the U.N. truly believes its “development” programs are going to work. You can’t allow a community to pollute a water source that is necessary for the “development” of that community, and then still put effort into helping that country grow. That is counterproductive.

The U.N. must work to clean up this river, or else the communities who rely on it will forever be in poverty and the efforts of the U.N. will be in vain.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jan Jörg

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  1. This disgustingly filthy river needs to be cleaned up immediately for the safety of all who live around it!


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