Editorial: Are you going to be the one who trashes our island?

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Editorial-ImageWe are pleased to report this week about the new Solid Waste Transfer Station on our island home. Just what does this mean for the residents and visitors to La Isla Bonita? According to Deputy Mayor Gary Grief, who spoke at the site inauguration last Friday, “….no longer will people flying over the island see the plume of smoke from our burning dump site…this is a huge upgrade, one that will benefit everyone and hopefully make the island have a healthier and more beautiful environment.” Deputy Prime Minister Honorable Gaspar Vega, who spoke at the event as well, went on to emphasize that with this transfer station, “…we will be eliminating several problems beside just improper disposal. No longer will there be air pollution from the burning of garbage, nor water and land pollution from the seeping of hazardous materials in to the island’s water sources and land masses.”
Unquestionably these a very important and valid points, but as Mayor Daniel Guerrero pointed out in his speech at the ceremony, “…This garbage transfer station will greatly benefit the community. It is without a doubt that we are headed into the direction of cleaning up the island. But still, we need the collaboration of every single resident and even visitors to do their part in keeping San Pedro clean.”
This my friends is where it HAS to begin. With each and every one of us doing our job. The garbage that will be collected by our sanitation workers is trash that has been properly bagged and disposed of. Our problem on the island is that much of our trash never sees the inside of a garbage can. So, as long as residents continue to improperly dispose of their garbage, chances are it will never find its way to the transfer station to ultimately be hauled off the island.
What has been inspiring is the group of individuals who have now organized regular beach and street cleanups. Every Saturday morning the good folks from The Phoenix along with volunteers scour the beach and streets of town core for garbage, and a group of residents just north of the Boca Del Rio Bridge are now holding a first Friday of the month cleanup campaign. Members of the South Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch have been holding regular clean-up campaigns for years now, and just last week, the island even saw a group of volunteers and missionaries from the Church of the Latter-Day Saints join forces to clean up Boca del Rio Park and the surrounding area.
None of these efforts would be necessary if people simply disposed of their garbage properly. We ALL know it’s wrong to just pitch our garbage without a thought, and it is also wrong to just assume that someone else, on their day off, in the hot sun, will be out their picking up after you. Didn’t your mother teach you to pick up after yourself? Well, that goes for TRASH too!
Now that we have the mechanism in place to really clean up our island are YOU going to be the one that people have to continue cleaning up after? Take some pride in your community and DO YOUR PART! Really, it’s easy…just put your garbage in a trash can. I ask you, how hard is that?

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