Letters to the Editor

All of us must keep Ja clean

Wednesday, August 27, 2014    

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Dear Editor,

Having read the Observer Talk Back of Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 'Changing this culture is not easy', I am left to wonder what is the culture of which we are speaking.

Certainly, there is evidence of poor garbage disposal along roadways and shorelines. There is a long history of this nuisance.

We also know it is not animals that are neglecting garbage receptacles and using the gullies for disposal, but rather thinking, capable human beings.

While some of those who shared their opinions have some valid points, particularly on the poor waste management practices of Jamaicans, I believe the problem is something else.

While some of those who shared their opinions have some valid points, particularly on the poor waste management practices of Jamaicans, I believe the problem is something else.

There is a culture of entitlement and delegation that we tend to see in communities in and around the Corporate Area, where poverty is rife. While the National Solid Waste Management Authority is the leading agency tasked with the responsibility of keeping Jamaica clean, it does not have a monopoly in that regard. All of us as citizens are expected to exercise responsibility and purpose of action in how we get rid of waste material. When roadways become inundated with piles of garbage, those in the immediate area are the ones to be disadvantaged. We cannot act irresponsibly simply because there is an agency that will inevitably clean up or because we are disappointed with the quality of our lives. When that agency falls short, we experience what we do today.

Change starts with the individual, and an improved quality of life cannot happen in an ailing environment. If each person takes pride in ensuring a healthy environment, instead of depending on someone else to do it, Jamaica would have less of a pollution problem. Jamaicans must also understand the proper usage of infrastructure around. Gullies are not made for the disposal or transportation of garbage but for channelling wastewater away from where we live towards the sea. It means, therefore, if gullies are abused, other problems ensue, including limiting their capacity to move wastewater, the littering of shorelines with washed-up garbage, inflicting harm on wildlife and destruction of Jamaica's natural beauty. Each of us has a stake in the development of our country.

Yohan Lee

St Andrew

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