Safety First

Friday, August 06, 2010

If It's To Be, It's Up To Me

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Not blowing my own trumpet, looking for any Brownie Points or to be declared a National Hero or anything like that, but today I picked up a 50-gallon bag's worth of trash off Mullins Beach.  I simply got tired of seeing the trash piling up day after day, week after week, month after month and no one picking it up.  Besides, it was strewn all over an area I love to sit, eat my lunch, and take in the beach scene at Mullins.  I made sure I removed my own trash when I left each time, but apparently that was not enough of an example for others to follow.  It was now beginning to reflect on me.  What kind of person would want to sit down in a pile of trash to eat his lunch?

Government certainly wasn't going to do anything about it - they abandoned beach-cleaning donkey's years ago when they got rid of the Parks and Beaches Commission.  For a country with a viable tourism industry Barbados certainly gets away with a lot of worthlessness - or so the powers that be apparently hope can continue.  We see it also in their attitude toward beach erosion and the sorry state we find on west coast beaches which have become nothing but piles of rocks.  When I vacationed in Ft. Lauderdale just north of Miami in Florida bright and early every morning The City of Ft. Lauderdale was raking and cleaning the beach, and every year after the hurricane season they were nourishing the beach with trucked-in sand.  That is the difference between a government that is serious about tourism and one like ours that's just playing the fool field.

The owner of the land certainly was not going to do it because I watched as they sent a crew to trim the casuarina tree and cut down what was left of the coconut tree killed by the exposure of its roots in the storms last winter, but sent no one to pick up the trash even though it's the first thing that greets visitors entering the beach from the north.  What ever happened to the notion of first impressions?  Royal Westmoreland is a special case - it is only focused on the stretch of beach immediately in front of the beach bar.  After all you don't need to worry about beach erosion preventing visitors from walking and exploring the area if you can keep their backsides on plush sunbed cushions while stuffing your coffers feeding them umbrella drinks.

The beach bums, vendors and watersports operators weren't going to pick up the trash because, truth be told, they are the chief offenders.  Just before the current Crop Over influx of visitors to the beach things were getting so desperate that they were resorting to pooling they meager earnings to roast breadfruits on the beach for lunch.  After lunch they just walked off and left the site a mess with their rum bottles, plastic cups, plastic bags, paper, fire-pits, etc.  Even they are now too "great" to clean after themselves.

So, if it's to be it's up to me.  It didn't take anything off me to spend five minutes picking up the area around which I love to sit.  As I have said before on this blog, I was born just across the street from this spot.  In the immortal words of Mighty Gabby - "my navel string bury right hey."   It hurts my heart to see people trashing the beach and it breaks it to see others destroying it with boulders and groynes.   And so my little act today in picking up the trash is symbolic of a larger commitment to seeing the ultimate restoration of the beaches in the Mullins Bay area, and this blog is my invitation to others to join in the process, for ultimately it isn't about me, it's about us.
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  1. You're doing a wonderful thing. Setting a great example! I'm hoping that the rest will pick up on what you've displayed.

  2. The Barbados Government needs to understand that the primary attractions to tourists are sun, sea and beaches. There is nothing that they can do about the first two but they have firmly within their power the ability to do something about the latter. Their apathy not only puts the prosperity of the island at stake it potentially destroys one of nature's gems.

    From England I follow this blog with dismay at the lack of interest in preserving the beaches and clearing the litter. When in Barbados I see signs requesting a litter free environment but they appear to be largely ignored - the concept of clearing and properly disposing of ones own rubbish has not yet sunk in. In view of the claims of an educated population this is surprising.

    A clean beach, or other environment, breeds a culture of maintaining cleanliness. Conversly, if an environment is littered there is little incentive not to add to it.

    When I come to Barbados I am a visitor - not a resident - but I feel compelled to fill my own plastic bag with the garbage along the stretch of beach that I regularly walk. It saddens me to find that the next day it is again littered.......