by Travis Gardiner
As Barbados approaches its 50th anniversary, let us reflect on the moments in history that are now lost with our “modernized society” –– our cleanliness.
Over the past couple of years, as an observant young person, I have watched quaint little Barbados transform from familiar surroundings of a kind, clean, caring community overall to a litterbug society.
Walking through The City which is supposed to be a comfortable and enjoyable commute becomes quite uncomfortable for me; and, I’m sure, a vast majority of locals and tourists have the same feeling. And this all due to garbage gracing your presence every so often; not to mention that when the rain falls, it becomes a nightmare.
Many people often speak about the horribleness of being in The City when the rain falls: dirty water, stink smells, the garbage that magically washes into existence from out of nowhere.
At one point, Barbadians were considered by other members of CARICOM as holding with high pride and in esteem their country and environment; but, in recent times, even I, as a local, question where this proposition comes from, considering the lack of care we have for our “gem” of the Caribbean Sea.
Our towns and other districts are lined with trash as if it were to be a part of the scenery. Whatever happened to the Keep Barbados Clean programme? Did it become too expensive to maintain the integrity of our environmental health?
Recently, there has been an upsurge in illegal dumping, with the idea that it’s the cheaper way of disposing our trash and not having any repercussion. At this rate, we will end up like some other territories that aren’t able to drink water directly from the tap owing to seepage.
A prime example of such is seen with the molasses dumping in the countryside.
With tourism being our major income earner, if we intend to keep our numbers up, we must clean up our act. Why is it that garbage cans are a rarity within this island? One finds it amazing that garbage bins are hardly found any other place within Bridgetown than Upper Broad Street. In short supply maybe?
Maybe, we’re just waiting for the tourists to mention how nasty this place is, because of the inert response persons of authority have towards pressing issues –– the wait-for-something to happen attitude.
Where is the pride in our country? Does it only exist in the motto Pride And Industry which seems to have little or no meaning to persons these days –– a motto that should inspire endless opportunities to persons who are willing and have a desire to be industrious. In 166 square miles, a plethora of bright minds can be found.
We collectively as a country must reunite, stop the finger-pointing and complacency. This surely isn’t what our forefathers fought for; and as our anthem says, “greater will our nation grow in strength and unity”.
Being a part of the generation that is supposed to clean up the act of its predecessors, I propose a few solutions with little hope it makes it anywhere other than in this article, because you can’t bend a tree that’s already fully grown.
Educate the masses from the ground up. Anyone knows a child’s voice is much stronger in any instance because the kid always wants to tell Mummy and Daddy what he/she has learnt and abides by those rules. With that said, such also creates a foundation for a far cleaner society.
Let’s create green cities. Around Barbados there’s a noticeable trend that there’s more piles of trash than they are garbage cans. In a place where the aesthetics are valued just as much as the climate, there must be greater effort shown to keep Barbados clean –– not isolating “clean up Barbados” to beaches and a few gullies.
At the end of it all, nature is interdependent. Therefore we mustn’t have tunnel vision, but rather examine the broader spectrum.
(Travis Gardiner is a member of The United Youth Leaders of Barbados.)