RESIDENTS of Port Kaituma, on Saturday, joined hands to clean up the waterfront area of the community and also helped to raise awareness on dangers of polluting the area.
In Port Kaituma, the waterfront area is usually polluted with garbage that has been improperly disposed. According to the Environmental Officer attached to the area, Ricardo Chan, persons who vend in the area would usually pay vagrants to dispose of their garbage when the tractor operated by the Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDC) is not functioning. The vagrants, he said, would dispose of the garbage in that waterfront, wharf area.
Seeing this as an eyesore, and as a problem within the community, one resident, Felicia Collins, decided to approach the NDC with a proposal to engage in a community clean-up of the area. She also wanted to raise awareness among other residents about the ills of disposing the garbage improperly.
The project was spearheaded by a resident of the community, Felicia Collins, who related that after walking around her community, she decided upon engaging in the project. “If you look at the amount of waste at the waterfront, it is a lot… behind the wharf there, it is known for dumping garbage,” Felicia bemoaned, explaining the situation.
Initially, the project at hand was aimed at cleaning up the direct environs of the wharf area, which is the main point of entry and exit for the mining community. This waterfront is a hub for the community because there are quite a few businesses located around the area, and it is here that the goods imported by the community is received. Beneath the wharf and these surrounding environs had become filled with garbage. In addition to this being an eyesore, the pollution could negatively impact the health of the residents.
As such, early Saturday morning, after engaging with residents, the local business community and local authorities, she organised the clean-up. Nearly 50 persons, mostly from established groups within the community, came out to join the clean-up. The result was this target area was cleaned. However, the residents were so enthusiastic about getting the environs clean, that they opted to clean a wider area. This clean-up campaign lasted about five hours.
Collins indicated that having this community effort provided leeway to engage a wider section of the Port Kaituma population on the ills of pollution. “I thought that if we get people to come out, we could help raise awareness to the problem,” Collins said. And that goal had started to materialise on Saturday. As people cleaned up, more came out and business persons who could not leave their businesses, donated garbage bags and refreshments.
“I was really happy that people were willing. I was surprised that people were willing to stick around and do things,” she related. While this initiative was a good one, and indicated that communal spirit, the Environmental Officer, however, told this newspaper that his task ahead is to ensure that there is some positive, long term change effected that is sustainable. Instead of engaging in clean-up activities often, he stressed that people should find proper ways of disposing garbage. However, he will work on erecting signs about the community in an attempt to dissuade people from dumping garbage and he mentioned that he will try engaging young people so that they can be edified on better ways of disposing of their litter.