Tuesday, April 16, 2024

EDITORIAL: Let’s keep Barbados clean


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That is a reasonable conclusion in light of the volume of garbage on every highway, side road, and just about every nook and cranny across this 21 by 14 mile island.

As prolific letter writer Carl Moore recently noted, litter seems to embarrass only a few Barbadians.

“It is made up of plastic cups, styrofoam food containers, fast food boxes and sundry throwaway things from the hands of Barbadians . . . . We accept it as part of the landscape.”

The widespread nature of this problem demonstrates the truth of Mr Moore’s observation.

It can also be seen from the tonnes of garbage cleared from our beaches, gullies and drains whenever special drives are held and from the daily evidence of napkins, sno-cone cups, plastic bottles, food containers, wrappers, and even chicken bones thrown from ZRs, minibuses and cars.

It’s as if Barbadians have never heard that such behaviour is wrong.

It’s as if they have no conscience to prick them and make them realise that their actions are contributing to their country looking dirty and untidy.

The more we hear about and see how people continue to indiscriminately litter and dump garbage, the more we recognise the truth of Mr Moore’s statement.

This is a national challenge which requires a holistic approach to resolve. The question is, where do we start?

Clearly every citizen, regardless of their age, occupation or wealth, has a responsibility to keep Barbados clean.

They must be shown how their indiscriminate and thoughtless actions in disposing of everything illegally endangers public health by providing a home and food for rodents and other creatures, chokes drains and contributes to flooding, and generally damages the environment.

All strategies must be employed to get this message across and so ingrained into the psyche of each Barbadian that they think twice before they litter or dump illegally.

These educational and outreach efforts would need to be buttressed by strong enforcement of existing regulations.

People who litter and dump illegally must be made to feel the full weight of the law so that the message is widely understood that such behaviour is totally unacceptable in Barbados.

These efforts should be supplemented by the placement of more refuse bins across the island as well as by efficient collection schedules.

Government must set the right tone for these efforts by ensuring highways are kept tidy and side streets and curbs weeded and the debris quickly removed and not left in bundles by the side of the road for weeks.

The pervasive presence of uncollected grass and dirt at roadsides suggests there is no systematic way of removing this debris after the weeding is done.

That bush is allowed to grow as high as eight or ten feet before it is cleared shows that the cycle of weeding bears no relation to the need to do effective maintenance.

These failures are in addition to the irregular collection of garbage.

It really is time to make a national pledge to make Barbados beautiful again.


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