Shameful act of a litterbug
By Antoinette Connell | Tue, July 17, 2012 - 12:00 AM
There I was driving merrily along one of those less than scenic urban routes.
There was a patch of greenery here, interrupted by some dilapidated out-of-place structure and, of course, the abandoned vehicle. And, oh, the garbage! The sight of it just repulsed me.
Still there was enough of the natural outdoors to be appreciated in spite of the concrete jungle.
Some scenes were rushing along too quickly for me to fully appreciate their beauty; like one of those movie fight clips where blows are flying and you can’t quite distinguish what’s going on.
So as I drove along, in no particular rush that day, I ended up behind an open-back truck. Still balancing the skill of driving, I continued to satisfy my need to drink in some of nature.
Out of the blue someone tossed a fast food container through the passenger window onto the sidewalk, quickly followed by a plastic cup. Immediately, I was down on my horn while making a mental note of the number.
Ugh! I thought.
From the passenger side, it looked like a man gave a half glance back and then flung off his hand, as if dismissing me.
I couldn’t believe it. After all we know about the environment, who could be so ignorant as to continue to litter the island in such a casual fashion? He simply could have kept the container until he reached a bin, even if it was a private one.
I prefer a passing pedestrian or motorist to pause and dispose of litter in a household garbage can than drop it on the road, no matter how upset the householder may become.
But back to our litterbug. There was such a callousness in his action that I couldn’t help but wonder what type of person was travelling in that vehicle and what driver would allow it.
I blew the horn again but there was no other reaction.
To tell the truth, I don’t know what I would’ve done. An impromptu roadside speech on the environment might not have been the most appropriate since that degree of action called for long-term intervention. I held no authority to make the litterbug pick up after himself and, depending on his mood, I might have been the one picking up the litter or being face down in it.
I know of no hotline to report small-time litterers although there is provision for the much grander scale of illegal dumping.
I had no way of knowing whom I might be confronting. Based on that single dirty act I felt the person might not be of reasonable mind. What could be the mindset of a person who could so comfortably contribute to the destruction of the environment?
I abandoned the horn, but not my fuming.
That incident came back to me last weekend during the Urban Development Commission’s (UDC) clean-up of the historic Careenage. Once a thriving trading area, the location has declined into a polluted waterway scorned by the thousands visiting The City.
While some of the debris and garbage fished out of the Careenage can be attributed to the elements, the pollution is also as a result of people – pedestrians using the bridge or those on the vessels – simply tossing things over the side.
The initiative of the UDC to transform the Careenage into a “turn of the century tourist and local attraction”, thereby restoring some of its former glory, is to be lauded. The UDC provided a taste of what could be by organizing short boat trips along the Careenage after the clean-up.
The effort, though, is rather mild and will need the help of several other organizations, companies and volunteers to be of any significance.
However, for now, it’s a start.
• Antoinette Connell is Daily Nation Editor.
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