Through your esteemed newspaper I want to express my concern in reference to civic pride. I notice that Belizeans while visiting our neighboring country Mexico, namely Chetumal, abide by the country’s laws by not throwing garbage on the streets or in any public area. In Belize it is quite the opposite, since as soon as they cross to the Belizean side, I notice individuals throwing garbage out of their vehicles.
Take a moment and question why? Why take care of another country and not yours? Is it that the penalties over there are so hefty? Or is it that there are more law enforcement officers patrolling the streets or is it that we do not have any civic pride? Whatever the reason, we abide by the laws. So, tell me why not in our beautiful Belize?
Are the penalties for littering in our country not strict enough or is it that persons in charge are not enforcing the laws? Is it that the law being enforced is to a selected few or do people in Belize take law enforcement officers for granted?
It is estimated that Belize produces approximately 300,000 tons of solid waste annually from domestic households and commercial establishments. This means that each person living in Belize produces approximately two to three pounds of solid waste every day (The San Pedro Sun, 2007).
Local environmental problems or incivilities can have a serious and long-lasting impact on wellbeing and quality of life for individuals and communities.
Do we fail to realize that not properly disposing of garage brings about consequences such as environmental hazards, waterway pollution, air pollution and it is also a major contributor to the infestation of rats, cockroaches, flies, and mosquitos. It can also result in diseases such as influenza, cholera and dengue, etc.
When it rains and the drainage fails to work due to excess garbage, which causes flooding, we are quick to critique or blame government but we do not stop to think that due to improper disposal of garbage these drains may not function the way they should.
Proper waste management is not just the responsibility of the government but we are also obligated to do it inside and outside our place for our health and safety. Each and every one of us must have the sense of responsibility in terms of garbage disposal to prevent any disease and aid in free flowing of waterways.
Making a change may not be easy but we can firstly begin with the parents inculcating and properly showing their children how to dispose of garbage at an early age. By doing this both parent and child will be practicing proper waste management controls and this may result in eradication of the problem.
Teachers at pre-school can also, assist with proper waste management since they can teach the children at an early age how to dispose of garbage properly and this will bring about civic minded citizens. Schools already have in their curriculum subjects that teach about the environment. I would strongly suggest to teachers to place emphasis on proper waste management and our civic duty towards good citizenship.
I would finally, recommend to Belizeans, for them to be more conscious and throw garbage where it belongs. Think of the consequences and take care of our Jewel, my fellow Belizeans.