It gripes me, as it should any patriot, to be confronted with the avalanche of littering by our fellow citizens upon this beautiful land of ours.We have adequate anti-litter legislation in place and there are litter wardens appointed to enforce them. I cannot recall any individual or company being charged with an anti-litter offence but I am sure that we can all observe the quantum of litter infractions at our beaches, roadsides, hiking trails, schools, market places etc.
Some time ago I went on a cruise down the islands and it was shocking to encounter the piles of garbage left there. It was as if visitors expect a helicopter to come and remove their disposable picnic items.Recently, the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration launched a week-long campaign aimed at fostering national pride and patriotism. Many of us claim to be true patriots but show wanton disregard for love of country by our senseless littering.
Some of the major distasteful acts that are clearly observed by many who care but are powerless to prevent include:
�2 disposal of cigarette butts through car windows or on the pavements;
�2 throwing of waste such as bottles and fast food boxes through car windows;
�2 leaving of litter on beaches, hiking trails and camp sites;
�2 disposal of lunch boxes provided to students at schools through the windows and in the classrooms;
�2 dumping of waste from business houses on pavements and the roadside;
�2 dumping of old tyres anywhere; and
�2 disposal of poultry waste in rivers and abandoned lands.
You need not have much intelligence to find a solution for all of the above if you are one of the culprits. But we choose to do what is easy simply because there are no consequences. There may not be a policeman or a litter warden in close attendance when we choose to litter so we know that we will get off with any offence.Also, we must not feel that if someone is paid to clean up after us that we should wilfully litter. If we truly love our country we will think twice before littering and find a solution for all waste disposal.
Good habits and values must be inculcated at home, the school and place of worship. From a young age children must learn not only in theory but in practise as well. I am aware that in the primary school curriculum this topic is addressed. Teachers, however choose only to emphasise those topics which will earn their students a higher mark at examinations.Sadly the true purpose of education is brushed aside for us to be more equipped at earning a living at the expense of compromising our beliefs and values systems.
It is no surprise that we rank very low on the index of tourism-friendly countries. We only have to travel to our Caribbean neighbours (also Tobago) to observe how countries with far less financial resources than us keep a clean scene. Perhaps a national consultation on this matter is crucial.