By Omilla Mungroo. One Sunday evening as my son and I walked home from the park, I was telling him about how people litter the place, and that there is a fine for people pelting rubbish out of their vehicle windows. We were having that discussion because the park had been profusely littered; a rare sight. I wasn’t done explaining when a car whizzed along Riverside Road, close to our home, and out flung a white paper cup onto the bank at the side of the road. It was carried with the wind down to the nearby river, while the car sped merrily away. Another example of people’s disrespect for mother earth.
Of course my son looked at me and laughed. He did not laugh because it was funny, but because of the timing of the incident. Trinis don’t really laugh at everything as we are regularly accused of doing. We laugh when we know we are powerless to change certain things. It’s our way of fighting stress. What could we have done at that time to stop that behaviour?
Earth Day: Promoting a clean environment every day of the year
Israel even wondered if a police car had passed then, and a police officer had seen that, what action, if any, would the police have taken, since there is supposed to be a fine for such negligent behaviour. He said, “Maybe the perpetrators would not have pelted the cup out the window if they knew the police car was behind them.” Then he shrugged and added, “Just saying.”
In the US and Canada, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 every year. It was an idea in 1962 by US Senator Gaylord Nelson, and it grew by 1970. The most common practice of celebration in the United States and Canada is planting trees.
“Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organise 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organised itself,” he said.
Trinidad and Tobago has been, in recent years, said to be becoming Americanised in more than one way. What causes us to throw paper cups out of our vehicles here in our own country, and keep them in the car when we are in the United States or elsewhere, until we find a trash can in which to put it?
It is hoped that we in sweet T&T do not celebrate Earth Day only on April 22, and only by planting trees, but also by keeping our beautiful islands clean every day!
We might see pictures of prominent people in the newspapers with shovels, hats, and smiles for the camera on April 22, but what is the use of planting more trees if we do not maintain and keep our environment clean every day of the year? Just saying!
April 2014 – Issue 9 www.sweettntmagazine.com
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