In the midst of all the controversy surrounding the Government’s new Municipal Solid Waste Tax, two photographs featured in our newspaper this past week have lent substantial credence to the argument that individuals must be made to pay for their garbage disposal –– at least those who would wilfully do harm to our environment.
Here, we are referring to the perpetual litterbugs amongst us. However, our stance on this issue must not be seen as support for the Freundel Stuart administration or its controversial Municipal Solid Waste Tax for that matter. Indeed, we have already forcefully put our position on that matter on the table. All that is left now is for the Government to recognize the harshness of this latest revenue measure by simply listening to the loud cries of its tax-weary constituents.
However, despite all the rubbish talk of late, we feel the need to add to the discussion at this time and to highlight what appears to us to be more than a blatant nasty practice, but a general callousness in our approach to matters of the environment.
Last Monday we carried on our Front Page, a photograph of what was nothing short of an unsightly mess, allegedly created by a vagrant who has not only taken up residence right next to a major watercourse in The City, but has also brought with him a stockpile of refuse, including giant duffle bags filled with household materials, umbrellas, men’s and women’s undergarments –– anything, it would seem, he could get his hands –– in what is now nothing short of an environmental nightmare.
When we thought it could get no worse than that, someone decided to dispose of a whole “house of garbage” in Wellington Street in The City.
After we highlighted that situation last Thursday, the Sanitation Service Authority quickly swooped down on the area and by Friday morning the unsightly and unpleasant smelling pile was no more.
Still, this is the sort of situation that should never be.
No wonder, Carl Alff Padmore, PRO for the SSA was so visibly upset.
We do see an urgent need for greater community policing and monitoring to stop such would-be perpetrators dead in their tracks –– among them people who are currently in the habit of flinging food and empty containers through car and bus windows, as they go about their daily carefree existence, seemingly oblivious to the harm they can do to others with these flying missiles, as well as the negative impact on the environment.
Also, we are told of some people who will pack up their garbage and drive out their own neighbourhoods to make the homes of others their dumping ground, thinking nothing of their nasty practice and how they are contributing to our health problems, such as with mosquito breeding and rat infestation, leading to deadly disease.
Even in some offices, there are those who would eat and just leave, never even glancing back at the mess they have created and how it impacts others.
Is it that we see cleaning up as only the job of a professional maid or garbage worker?
Do we not worry about the impact on climate change; our water system even?
We believe the time has come for individuals to take greater responsibility for their actions.
It is said that the pride of every Barbadian is to own his or her own home. We also have to make it the pride of every Barbadian to maintain clean and tidy surroundings to ensure a safe and healthy future for all.