Editorial: Pitching in

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It was with much joy and gladness that the citizenry greeted the new and improved look around St. John’s yesterday. We are referring to the handsome trash receptacles that are now dotting the cityscape.

They are indeed a beauty to behold, and we certainly wish to salute the Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, Mr. Molwyn Joseph, and the ministry staff, as well as the contractors who did a remarkable installation job. Well done!

That being said, we are calling on the good minister of health to not rest on his laurels, but to tackle other pressing environment pro lems around St. John’s like the dirty gutters, the over- grown lots with debris and garbage, and the election paraphernalia that are still very much an eyesore and a pollutant.

Of course, it is now up to us to do our part and pitch in. We’re talking about civic responsibility and pride. We’re talking about the aesthetics of our dear city. We submit that if we do that which is our natural duty, St. John’s will be a decidedly cleaner and more beautiful city.

We are pleased to hear that there will be a number of litter wardens patrolling the streets, that fines and other penalties will be meted out to those who are given to anti-social behavior, and that the receptacles will be cleared of trash twice per day.

We certainly hope that there will be a robust public awareness campaign so that the citizenry can be familiarized with the provisions of the Litter Control and Prevention Act that govern these receptacles.

Now, while we are pleased with this success story coming out of the Ministry of Health, we cannot help but note that many of us were initially skeptical with this litterbin effort. After all, this administration is known for much huffing and puffing, with very little to show for the expenditure of hot air, which mind you, is a pollutant that can have a harmful effect on people and the environment.

You see, that huffing and puffing is the main ingredient in the ground level ozone that is commonly referred to as smog. And boy, are we harmed daily from the surfeit of smog emanating from the mouths of our leaders. Would that they would hold their peace at times! (Some say, forever!)

Anyway, as we were saying, there were some who did not hold out much hope that the flurry of activity by the Ministry of Health would amount to much. Then there were others who frowned at the concrete platforms on the sidewalks, which they suggested could be an impediment to pedestrian traffic as well as a hindrance to persons with disabilities.

 And yet others thought that the whole exercise, with the much-heralded spraying of paint on the sidewalks and the good health minister leading the charge, was nothing more than a photo op that would start with a bang (as have many government initiatives) and end with a whimper.

Indeed, the jaded and the disillusioned among us – those with very little faith in this administration to get it right, felt that this was going to be another boondoggle much like eBooks and the no-lane highways, what with the seemingly ever-pre- sent plague of procurement issues, over-pricing, failure to read the fine print, inordinate delays, conflicts of interest, cronyism, and other such nonsense.

Mercifully, our worst fears did not materialize, and we are saluting the Ministry of Health for showing other ministries, like the hapless Ministry of Works and the woebegone Ministry of Education, how things ought to be done. We hope!

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