Editorial: It stinketh up to high heaven!

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Is it just us or are there other folks out there who have noticed that much of the election posters and paraphernalia have been removed? To those responsible for the timely removal of the election advertisements, we say kudos and a hearty thank you.
Of course, like many Antiguans and Barbudans, we feared that the billboards and posters would be left standing, long after the election, on the corners and on the lawns and front yards. And perhaps worse, that the thousands of yards of plastic that were used to wrap the trunks of trees and electrical poles would remain fluttering and twisting in the wind, until such time when the elements would prevail and they would end up in our landfills, gutters, sewage systems and oceans.
Ah, the oceans! According to some studies, our marine life is under threat from the non-biodegradable plastics that end up there. Apparently, fish and other sea creatures as well as sea birds, pick at the plastics which end up in their gullets and oft-times cause death. Then there is the island of plastic-sheeting and bottles that are currently floating in the Pacific. According to Shaena Montanari, a paleontologist and Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation, “A new discovery of a massive amount of plastic floating in the South Pacific is yet another piece of bad news in the fight against ocean plastic pollution. This patch was recently discovered by Captain Charles Moore founder of Algalita Research foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to solving the issue of marine plastic pollution. Moore, who was the first one to discover the famed North Pacific garbage patch in 1997, estimates this zone of plastic pollution could be upwards of a million square miles in size.” Yes, bigger than Mexico, because 90 percent of all the plastic that we use is not recycled. And yes, it will be floating for centuries in the oceans!  And sea birds and sea creatures will ingest some of this stuff, at their peril! And yes, while many millions of plastic bottles and containers make up most of these abominable floating islands of plastic refuse, researchers have discovered that billions of ‘teeny-tiny’ bits of plastic from wraps and sheeting, such as those used to wrap tree trunks and electrical poles during this past election campaign, lie beneath the surface. In other words, much like an iceberg, the greater threat is submerged.
Which brings us to a most perplexing question? Why would an administration that pays an inordinate amount of lip-service to the cause of environmental protection and, why would an administration so seemingly intent on eliminating plastic shopping bags from our stores and other areas of commerce, be so exceedingly callous and flippant about using millions of cubic feet of plastic to wrap trees and electrical poles? Never mind the hundreds of plastic-backed ads and signage that adorned those same light poles and lawns? Hypocrisy, anyone? Seemed the administration was saying, “Do as I say, but not as I do!”
Here’s hoping that with the prompt and commendable removal of the election paraphernalia by the administration, that that paraphernalia will be disposed of in a responsible and environmentally-friendly manner. In other words, it will not simply be carted to the Cook’s Dump, where it will lie instate for the next hundred years.
Meanwhile, the question of the Cook’s Dump brings immediately to mind the dump that is the jail cell at the St. John’s Police station where rats, roaches and faecal matter rule the joint, or the dump at 1735 where the kitchen roof just fell in, or the dump at the Central Board of Health where the bathrooms and other areas are filled with detritus and vermin. And on and on it goes! Indeed, many are the people who report that they would rather relieve themselves outside (not a good idea) than venture into the bathrooms at some of these places. It is a downright shame and disgrace! So many public facilities and government offices where there is no toilet paper, no running water, broken fixtures and unsanitary conditions. Oh, we almost forgot to mention Clarevue and the Fiennes!  And we are not blaming any one administration because these problems did not develop overnight. These are long-running, long-festering issues of maladministration and neglect. And they reflect poorly on us! And they stink up to high heaven!
Again, we remain hopeful that with the new and fresh faces in this administration, there will be an influx of fresh thinking on these rotten problems that, for far too long, have bedeviled us. Again, we are optimistic that this breath of parliamentary fresh air will be brought to bear on this assault on our senses and sensibilities and Mother Nature. Here’s hoping for that sweet-smelling savour!

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