The last week of July is Anti-Litter Awareness Week. The Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority (GSWMA) took an active lead, which included drives up the west and east coasts to sensitise communities about proper garbage disposal.
On Monday 25th July, a large GSWMA team, augmented by four members of the Grenada Green Group (G3), visited businesses in Grenville to remind them of the proper procedure for disposal. This involves having refuse ready for collection just before 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. daily. The team was told of difficulties encountered, which include dispersal of rubbish awaiting collection by dogs and vagrants, who have clearly learned the times when garbage is available.
One storekeeper reported that the public insisted on a black plastic bag for every purchase, however small, as a right; even leaving the store without their intended purchase if they were not automatically given a bag. This is an ‘entitlement’ that we shall have to abandon, just as we have had to get used to bringing our own bags for grocery shopping. Every plastic bag is toxic, takes centuries to degrade, is an avoidable problem for GSWMA and an avoidable cost for store owners. And they are only ‘used’ for a matter of minutes.
On Tuesday 26th July, a GSWMA team turned out to collect garbage from the coastal area near the stadium bridge. The usual debris was found: food boxes, plastic forks, discarded fans, juice boxes, items of clothing, and many plastic bottles. People clearly think ‘out of sight, out of mind’ as they drop items down the embankment. But it is not out of sight at all. Shattered glass bottles made the clean-up risky for all involved; and all plastic items damage the marine environment and with it our tourism and fishing industries. This is another habit that is easy to break – and must be broken. Find a bin or take it home!
At this clean-up, plastic bottles were collected separately for delivery to the RePlast OECS collection at Camerhogne Park on Saturday morning. This initiative continues on Saturdays throughout August. The public is urged to bring clean plastic drinks bottles (clean, blue and green) between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. This will make a dent, however small, in the incredible 1,400 tonnes of plastic bottles taken to Perseverance – or simply discarded into the vulnerable environment – each year.