Anyone who hasn’t been too distracted by our ‘beyond ridiculous’ crime scourge may have noticed a recent upsurge of another sort recently. It’s not a bad thing this time but one that may add some sanity to a world that seems to have gone absolutely crazy. A large number of nations and some responsible corporations seem to have accelerated a drive recently to cut back on plastic items that take an especially long time to disintegrate thus putting pressure on the environment. Two companies that have been highlighted recently are Starbucks in the United States and Massy Stores right here in Sweet T and T.

Plastic straws for instance are used just once and then discarded. Hardly do we ever pay much mind to these little items after using them, but the damage that they cause is tremendous. They take hundreds of years to break down in landfills and cause death and injury to marine creatures who mistake them for food when they are washed out to sea. Starbucks announced that it will begin phasing out single use straws and test special lids for its cups that are not as harmful to the environment. Other food service companies have begun testing paper-based straws and cups. Massy Stores, you would recall, recently started phasing out single use grocery bags for similar reasons. Both companies we tip out hats to and also encourage others that use plastic products to follow suit.

But let’s look at our habits too. Trinidadians are litterbugs with little to no pride in our environment. Our beaches and other common places are filthy. Littered with plastic bottles, snack food packaging, cigarette butts and everything else imaginable that should have been properly discarded. Our drains and rivers are clogged with rubbish and old appliances and we complain when our homes are flooded in the rainy season. It was really a double heartbreak 2 evenings ago, while looking at news reports of the boardwalk murders on television to see the sad state that the Chaguaramas beach has become. Humans literally swimming in garbage without much concern. How could we not care that our beaches and our environment are dying slowly and painfully while we look on?

While the United States, several European nations and even our neighbours in Guyana have taken steps recently to reduce plastic and other harmful waste in the environment, we also hear clearly, the deafening silence of those charged with protecting our environment locally. Where are the incentives to switch to biodegradable food containers? Why aren’t higher taxes imposed on the manufacture of harmful styrofoam and plastic disposable products? If we look closer, we might see who stand to lose money from such a move. In the meantime we continue to swim in garbage and bawl when our homes are flooded while we are ignored by those who possess the power to make things better.

Web Master

July 11th, 2018

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