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Commendations to CWSA

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Fri, Sept 16. 2011

Our commendations go out to the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA) for its latest initiative in ridding our country of unwanted solid waste. Dubbed the “White Goods” campaign, it involved collecting items, such as discarded refrigerators, washing machines, computers, over the week September 12 to 17, alongside the normal weekly garbage disposal.{{more}}

The response has been tremendous. Daily, truckloads of “White Goods” make their way to the landfill site at Diamond, amazing onlookers at the quantity of solid waste coming from the backyards of consumers. The very scale of the operation has proven that it more than justifies the initiative. Clearly, we have all been harbouring a lot of rubbish in our environs.

The reasons are many and varied, but there can be little doubt that financial considerations must have played a part, at least where some of the more environmentally-conscious are concerned. In a time of tight economic circumstances, not many could afford the transport costs associated with transporting such goods to the landfill at one’s own expense. As a result, pollution built up around us, increasing the risk to our health of an environment conducive to the breeding of rats, roaches, mosquitoes etc.

This demonstrates how economic factors can impact on environmental cleanliness, and on the state of health in general. No doubt, among the many households which responded to the CWSA initiative, there must have been some who had had weighty consciences about what was in their backyards, but could not find the means to be rid of them at their own expense.

On the other hand, some had no such qualms. Gross indifference to environmental pollution, and even ignorance, can result in many of us not bothering to care. Recently, one of the CWSA officials came in for some stick publicly for making the observation that “Vincentians are just nasty”. Harsh words they might be, and one can question the tact, but his observation is related to our practices, and in this, many of us are guilty. Take a look at our drains, alongside our streets etc., and worse, recoil at the urine stench which our males subject us to, willy-nilly, and you would realise that the CWSA official is not off the mark. In spite of numerous entreaties, we seem not to care.

The worst aspect of this is that it is not just those who may be excused for not knowing better. Many of us know that we are doing wrong, but simply don’t care. Environmental consciousness must therefore, be high on the national agenda. The general public ought to be bombarded with information and public education aimed at changing our irresponsible behaviour. This must, begin as early as possible in life, not only in words, but in deeds, in practical examples.

At the end of this campaign, we must ask, what next? Will we demonstrate our appreciation for this effort by taking steps to minimize pollution in the future? Will we resolve, in the face of financial challenges, to make every effort to repair appliances or re-upholster furniture before making the decision to throw them out? Will we resolve to get rid of “White Goods” at our own expense, to combine efforts, to pool our resources and thereby lighten the personal burden? Will we take the message to every nook and cranny, ensuring that, as a result, we are far more environmentally conscious and responsible?

We could hardly do less.

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