THE concept of the location “away,” where we place unwanted items out of sight and definitely out of mind, is a curious one. Unfortunately for too many of us, away exists out of our car windows, on the seat we previously occupied, on the beach we just visited, or perhaps on the ground in front of us. The need for a recent press release by the management of Peter and Company Distribution following the 2018 Pine Hill Fun Walk was predictable, to distance themselves from the irresponsible action of a segment of the community. It is a sad reflection of where we are as a people, when we drop litter and somehow expect trash to vanish into a faraway place never to be seen again.
The Monday announcement by the Ministry of Sustainable Development of plans to ban single-use plastic items is therefore welcome and commendable, if not long overdue. The nature isle Dominica already decided to go that route. While attending a Canadian university in the early nineties, there were separate garbage/refuse bins for paper, plastic, and household trash. Somehow, in a more vulnerable country, we take this important items for granted. Just last month, I enjoyed a takeaway meal at the airport in Barbados where every item was compostable; the plate, the cup, even the utensils, which shows that the technology has reached a point where swift action should be taken. There is little reason for analysis when something as important as our environmental health is at stake. Do we ever hear of analyses of the litter problem, or of the continual cleanup efforts mounted by concerned citizens?
You should be familiar with the concept of a recycle bin in modern computer systems, which allows you to mark a file for deletion, while still having the opportunity to retrieve it if needed later before performing a destructive delete operation that erases it. Something can be deleted, value rediscovered, then retrieved, all in a safe manner.
If we drop some money on the ground and walk away, it retains its value, despite being placed on the ground or left behind. Until we all understand and that the piece of trash in our hands does not belong out the car window, on the grass, on the road or some other public space, then we are really in a sad place. We might have even gone away!
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About the Author
Dr. Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia. His expertise includes systems analysis, design, and capacity building.