My last daughter took me for a walk along the Georgetown seawall on New Year’s Day. Two things struck me: first, the reality of environmental changes taking place. For example, I told my daughter how when I was her age, we would enjoy the ebb and flow of the Atlantic with the foreshore full of shells and other marine products – a delightful sight as the waves reached towards the wall or rounded the jetties, constructed to reduce the action or force of the waves. This was a new experience as we endured a foul odour from dead fish among the rocks as well as dead and living fishes at the edge of the water.
My daughter is a student doing environmental science; her postulation was that marine life was at risk because of pollution in the area. If true, these are matters which I expect the appropriate authorities are, or will be addressing.
As I approached Adamson’s Bend, I was appalled at the ugly sight of a mountain of garbage, food boxes et al, placed there by some of our citizens who frequent that area, the majority in vehicles. From time to time garbage receptacles have been placed in public areas but these are either vandalized or stolen.
It is worrisome because this behaviour exacerbates the shortcomings of the municipality as far as garbage collection is concerned.
Walking westward, I came upon the seawall bandstand with a large sign stating that the area is maintained by the Guyana Police Force. There was a vagrant and another gentleman (sic) who apparently conducts his sanitary chores there and sleeps in the bandstand – yet another blot on our city.
To deal with the general environment for the New Year, I will renew efforts to get the state, religious youth organizations, the media and indeed every patriot to join forces in a coordinated effort to restore our city and indeed the entire coastal belt.
But let us be optimistic; I recall some years ago, Singapore was one of the filthiest cities in the world, but President Lee Kwan Yew gave his full support to change, and did so by ensuring that all law enforcement agencies helped in the clean up; there was the full involvement of the municipal authorities and the media; and the courts imposed draconian penalties on those who littered or did harm to the environment. The result is that today Singapore is regarded as one of the cleanliest cities in the world.
We can put our shoulders to the wheel to make our capital wholesome and beautiful. I repeat a popular ditty of some years ago: Can we do it? Yes we can!
Hamilton Green, JP