It’s becoming harder to escape that which would blemish and blotch beautiful, beautiful Barbados –– the loads of garbage lining the streets, blowing across the street, scurrying across the beach sand, clinging to wire fencing everywhere, and even being dumped surreptitiously under cover of obese bush and slender leggy grass.
It is bad enough being outraged by those people who casually throw large bags of garbage brought from their homes on to the property of others in distant neighbourhoods, or casually toss empty fast-food boxes and plastic cups and bottles out their car windows. It is even more sickening having to be informed of the sneaky cloak-and-dagger (or is it garbage-and-dagger?) disposal of refuse.
The consolation is we are beginning to catch some of the culprits who have been illegally dumping their garbage –– and truckloads of it. Thanks to the surveillance team of the Ministry of Health!
And by the authority invested in these environmental health officers, the caught illegal dumpers are being made to remove said refuse and clean up the affected areas. On Monday, and example was made of the illegal dumper at Bucks Road in St Thomas; and just yesterday the unnamed perpetrator at Hangman Hill, near Vaucluse, in the same parish.
The environmental team has praised as “great” members of the public who are informative: especially those who only have to “feel” they are seeing people illegally dumping.
Truth be told, the vast majority of us like to believe we are well indoctrinated in the opposite practice of this unseemly, dirty and disruptive behaviour. Even chronic and addictive smokers don’t bother tossing their butts on the ground any more. Bins are their target.
One doesn’t have to be a University of the West Indies doctorate graduate to know it’s wrong to litter. Many of us were taught that as toddlers at home –– and sometimes reminded by the sting of a spanking –– and had the concept reinforced at school, despite all the current controversy.
We learnt very early that anyone who flicked a cigarette butt on the sidewalk, or kicked a soft drink can to the kerb, or threw a beer bottle in the bush was wrongly and significantly contributing to environmental blight. Upsettingly, we recognized such people were simply unsanitary and nowhere near cleanliness, which is next to godliness.
Hopefully, the public pointing of the finger against and exposure of the litterbugs among us just might encourage them to depart from their filthy ways, especially since the perpetrators when caught will have the arduous task of picking back up all which they have dumped –– and be photographed doing it too. Of course, this all hinges on their admission of wrongdoing and willingness and cooperation in removing the refuse they brought or sneaked in. Who else would be rightly responsible for cleaning up the mess?
Environmental health officer Ryle Rock and team, by supervision, will have the perpetrators making wrong right –– once there is no resistance to it,
the response to which would be deserved prosecution.
Yes, every owner and occupant of a property is responsible for keeping the area free of debris, litter and garbage. But not at the discomfort and expense of that of another; nor at the chagrin of the public by the misuse of other land deemed to have neither owner nor occupant.
Those of us exposed to Christian religious teaching will hardly be unfamiliar with the idiom alluded to earlier: Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness.
Apart from the message that after the worshipping of God the second most important thing was the preservation of self, the equally important accompanying notion was that of simply keeping one’s surroundings neat and clean –– for the Master’s sake, and that of one’s neighbour.
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
–– 2 Corinthians 7:1.
A salient step, of course, for us Barbadians in the protection of ourselves, is to be rid of all possible mosquito breeding habitats like stagnant water in cans, bottles, coconut shells and the like –– around and near our homes. The illegal dumpers may very well contribute to the latter case. There is, therefore, the practicality and wisdom in hurriedly informing our environmental health team, thus expeditiously eradicating whatever threatening receptacle.