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Pride in cleanliness sorely lacking


rhondathompson, [email protected]

Pride in cleanliness sorely lacking

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It’s not about garbage; it’s about pride, or lack thereof.

Today we compliment the Future Centre Trust, its partner organisations and scores of Barbadians who turned out on Saturday for Xtreme Clean-Up, an effort to remove garbage from the island’s streets and gullies. It was a worthwhile and commendable effort, but based on prior experience we believe when the volunteers return next September, they will be confronted by the same sad situation.

We can clean up as many gullies, highways, side roads or unoccupied lots as often as we like, but if we can’t find a way to instil pride in cleanliness among our people, it will be all for nothing.

We have said it so many times, we now wonder if anyone is listening. But when we purchase fast food, beverages, the other conveniences of life in non-biodegradable containers and choose to drop them wherever we empty them or throw them from the windows of our cars and public service vehicles, what do we expect to happen to them?

When we decide it is time for a new fridge, television, stove or washing machine and give not a care for what will become of the old one, what do we expect?

It appears we are also not prepared to deal either with the garbage problem created by vagrants in Bridgetown and other urban centres. Again, where do we expect the garbage to end up when they scatter it across the sidewalk as they search for whatever interests them?

Again we make the point: we will be picking up garbage by the truckload for a very long time if we are not prepared to deal with the sources of the problem. There will alway be a need for events like Xtreme Clean-Up because with the best will in the world, the wind and rain, in particular, will take garbage where we did not intend, but there is no justification for compounding it with the deliberate littering we so often engage in.

We also note that the valiant efforts of the volunteers to clear our beaches of Sargassum seaweed appeared to be an exercise in futility. Prior to the clean-up, anyone who visited any beach around the country, perhaps with the exception of the West Coast, would have recognised that the deposit of seaweed on the sand was two feet deep in some places. Shovels and bags clearly were not going to work – not in the absence of a chain gang-type approach.

We can’t help but notice that the build-up has been acute since the National Conservation Commission sent home more than 200 workers. These are the same people who would have been deployed in the past to keep the beaches clear.

The time has come to adopt a mechanical approach to the cleaning of the beaches. It is not beyond us to engineer some kind of mechanical rake to be operated by lightweight tractor-mower type equipment that would not compact the sand and endanger turtle nesting sites. Barbados can do better than we have so far largely because we don’t believe it requires rocket science to solve this problem.

Dealing with the illegal dumping might take a little longer.

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