No one, we have proffered before, likes to live in filth and squalidness. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves –– and the rest of the world. The stark variance, though, exhibits its messy self through the litter strewn across our beaches, parks and other green spots; through the industrial and domestic garbage dumped anywhere and everywhere; and through the Government and privately owned open lots overrun by bush and critters.
Many of us –– from the highest of officials to the average Joe –– shout to high heaven about this uncleanliness and befoulment –– in vain; and the powers that be, as if to appease, sound off on national public education programmes on how to be tidy and clean, and sometimes openly threaten stiffer penalties for persistent offenders, but nothing comes of either. And we resign ourselves to the omnipresence of the sleaze and grubbiness.
Perhaps, we will see a change in mindset to the appreciation and care of our physical environment, in particular our improved City habitat, given the pleasantly surprising functional placement and decor of the Church Village Green and the redeveloped Constitution River. Addressing the recent opening ceremony of Church Village Green, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley emphasized the civic responsibility of protecting our green spaces for the continued and sustainable enjoyment of citizens and visitors to our island.
The minister impressed us with his stated view that while it was important to have our old City buildings restored and repurposed with respect to our World Heritage Historic Bridgetown insignia, it was of equal import to preserve and conserve our civic green spaces of our 400-year-old cityscape. We are pleased then that the Church Village Green and the redeveloped Constitution River projects can be seen as models of the regeneration of Bridgetown, and trust that Mr Lashley’s wish to see further City development and restoration “with some alacrity” will see fruition.
The Church Village Green, established for regular gathering of folks, with its open-area seating, fish pond, show areas for craft and amphitheatre, will call for constant care and daily cleaning.
And Mr Lashley made an entreaty to us Barbadians: “I wish to implore you not to let it fall into a place of disuse and disrepair, nor to let it become a place where posters are posted on the steps or on the walls, or where litter is thrown around. Let each one of us play our part in ensuring that this part and the nearby Constitution River remain free of pollution, free of litter and free of posters.”
Posters, the scraped, scrapped and degenerating indeed, are no sight for sore eyes anywhere, furthermore in such oases as the Church Village Green. We cannot worry enough about the scattered refuse, bush, dirt and grime that might undermine this new City haven and sanctuary by the hands of the insensitive and unsophisticated. We need to underscore too that the Church Village Green and such like it are not receptacles for the empty fast-food boxes and cups thrown out by uncouth car occupants –– an increasing pastime across this would-be fair land.
Nor are they receptacles for waste from pressured bladders –– a state that has not escaped many City alleys and other spots.
It would not be trivial to add that these ubiquitous dispensed of containers –– tossed into the streets and on the premises of others
–– could be a first step towards the affliction of dengue fever on some poor unsuspecting person, through possible mosquito breeding habitats like stagnant water in, around, and near our homes.
And this perhaps after the afflicted homeowner had already demonstrated the practicality and wisdom in eradicating all empty containers lying around before.
We cannot upbraid enough the offenders, or encourage too much all Barbadians to dispose of their rubbish responsibly, whether at home, at the beach, in the street, or at our waterholes for green spaces. Let it not be said that Barbados, as “a developing country”, has not been as advanced as other nations in appreciating the greener way of living.
We Barbadians need to be committed to a greener life for the benefit of our country and our descendants, as much as for the protection of our much needed tourism sector –– truth be told, even far more so for our own legacy!
Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well –– with apologies to Henry David Thoreau, the late American poet, philosopher