Cleanliness of one’s environment should be embedded in Guyanese culture
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AS you walk around Georgetown, or, in fact any other town and notice a towering amount of garbage and waste on the streets? Do you enjoy the smell of the nearby stagnant drains? Seeing the beautiful greenery and scenery certainly makes us all proud as Guyanese, right? It should make you proud, but vanity and cosmetics are not considered progress. In fact, it’s a cover-up. The tall hotels, mega-malls and resorts will be reduced to nothing, if they’ll be surrounded by pools of plastic. Are these concerns even addressed when planning and implementing national developmental policies and strategies? I wonder.

In the town where I live, there’s a known “dump site” oblique to my home. The municipal body has done everything it can to fix this issue. From putting a “no dumping” sign to even putting an industrial size waste bin. Somehow, the garbage and waste are dumped in, around, near or next to the bin. This leads to frustration and disgust amongst residents like myself. Now, as citizens we have rights, but we also have responsibilities. Citizens of my township should be responsible enough to know that their littering has an overall negative impact on the very town in which they they reside. At one point the municipality even banned residents from throwing their garbage at the site. They did this without giving citizens an alternative site to use. Also, what good does governance serve if it cannot lead and have others follow?

I explained this ongoing situation about environmental pollution and waste management, because I am sure that this is the reason many other towns and villages are polluted with waste. Before you hop on the “Well maybe you should pay a private company to collect your garbage” train. Sure, I can but can others afford to do the same? Will the low-income villages be left to live in filth? To promote Guyana’s green economy, its great structures, sceneries and historical landmarks alone suffer injustice due to what is done to the environment we live in.
There is no denying the fact that our sewage infrastructure is outdated. We still have opened drain ways and trenches, filled with dirty waters and garbage throughout our country. There’s no structure and/or functionality to waste management. There is also limited sensitisation to waste management, pollution and cleanliness. Making posters to teach people is one thing, actually teaching people at their levels of comprehension is another. I do not have all the answers and solutions because I am no expert in the sustainability of environments. Nonetheless, as I help to point out the obvious and ask the right questions, the experts can take heed.

I also hope that those in the appropriate authoritative positions understand the intensity of this issue and the impact it has on Guyana and its way forward to becoming a developed country. As I end this week’s column piece, I’d like to leave some words of wisdom with you all. Will Rogers once said, “Show me a healthy community with a healthy economy and I will show you a community that has its green infrastructure in order and understands the relationship between the built and the unbuilt environment.” I hope we can all ponder them as we think about what’s next for our country.

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