A growing, menacing problem
Guyana Chronicle
March 23, 2002

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`SHOW me your friends and I will tell you who you are' - one of those familiar sayings used for ages to illustrate the point that when people are in bad company they eventually adopt negative habits and behaviour.

Perhaps, another could be, "Show me your surroundings and I will tell what kind of person you are."

It is disgusting and annoying when people drink and eat from synthetic containers and then with utmost pleasure and satisfaction toss these wherever they please, regardless of the consequences.

This atrocious and repugnant littering behaviour of many Guyanese is in danger of being the norm among both the young and old, resulting in many areas becoming most unhealthy and unsightly.

Guyanese have been known to have a penchant for foreign things, but it would seem that for some it is only for the negative items and attitudes.

Because in North America and Europe where Guyanese have close connections and many visit regularly, anti-littering laws are tough and there is an abhorrence and rejection for littering and an unsightly environment.

When people in these countries use anything out of a disposable bag and a garbage bin is not around, they keep it on their person until it can be properly disposed of.

This is an indication of people who have regard, respect, pride and love of their environment and country.

So why do Guyanese who are blessed with such a beautiful natural environment, simply do not regard, respect and love their environment?

Simple things like burning or burying refuse in a corner of one's yard are not done.

Instead, some people dump stuff in drains, on parapets and other inappropriate places.

And in more recent years in a most disgusting, unhealthy and dangerous manner, missiles of plastic bottles and food boxes are flung out of moving vehicles, on to streets and parapets.

How will this repugnant behaviour be stopped?

It has to be arrested by the application of a combination of strategies - no one method will suffice.

In the short-term, tough measures have to be taken against those who are guilty of tarnishing the environment.

This was successfully done in Singapore. Let those who want to shout about freedom and democracy shout.

In addition, parents have to inculcate the right attitudes in their children in relation to the environment and of course the education system, the religious bodies and the media all have a major role in educating the nation on proper environmental attitudes and practices.

If the grandiose plans to make eco-tourism one of the largest industries in this country are to succeed, there has to be a combined all-round effort to effectively tackle this menacing problem.