Our deepening litter crisis Viewpoint:
By Joyce Sinclair
Guyana Chronicle
July 20, 2004

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THERE is among many once proud Guyanese a feeling of hopelessness, of embarrassment, sadness and sometimes disgust at the deepening litter crisis in the city, our once beautiful garden city.

There have been scores of letters written over the years, suggestions made and tried but to no avail.

The question of the litter crisis must not be seen in isolation.

My view is that it must be seen in conjunction with:

* The increase in the number of persons of unsound mind roaming the streets, scavenging, emptying garbage bins on the streets.

* The fast growing number of homeless on our streets and pavements.

* The increase in the number of those youths of sound mind who are unemployed, who drape street corners and eat and drop their litter right where they are.

* The social service groups who drive around from time to time distributing food in boxes to the needy on the streets. These too are contributing to the national litter crisis.

* The seemingly exponential increase in the number of young street children (of school age) who sit on pavements, play cards, eat from styra foam boxes and move on.

* The lack of sustainability of projects previously worked on and launched.

Many adults in schools and social groups continue to teach our children not to litter.

In some areas of the country, there have been environmental clubs that instill the correct values, but to what end? At the national level, these children see the opposite and question our integrity.

There is a general worsening situation at a time when we are talking of increased numbers of tourist to this country, international pageants, International games of one kind or another, international trade fairs, and of course the upcoming CAC games in October.

I think we need a tidy city for our own selves first, because we are pround Guyanese. We Care.

There now seems to be some form of national emergency in this area, requiring inputs at levels higher than those we have been accustomed to.

We may even require consultations and assistance at international levels to curb this multi-faceted scourge.

If we cannot mobilise the local experts and expertise with ideas, suggestions and capacity and wherewithal to take the required action, then we need to seek help elsewhere.

Let us not be too proud to do this. We are in deep crisis.

We have been talking about garbage and litter behaviour for too long.

It is now compounded with many other social issues that exacerbate the problem and require very urgent attention.

We are already half way through 2004!

Alarm bells are ringing. (First broadcast on NCN radio)