15 March 2012

Why biting the hand that feeds you?

What pops up in your mind when you hear the word "paradise"?  I'm sure you associate it with clear blue waters filled with colorful fish, bright skies, white sandy beaches, romantic sunsets, stunning landscapes and sipping fresh water out of a coconut just fallen off a palmtree? I would agree - and Yes, many of the pictures we've posted from our trip so far must give you this impression. But and that's a big BUT, sometimes we encounter places which are really not worth taking a picture. I did anyway: Sadly enough, it seems you find for every wonderful place a "landfill" area like this below. Plastic is everywhere: to take a snap of a nice sandy beach I sometimes struggle to NOT get one of the many plastic bottles, cans and other stuff lying around in the picture!

Both pictures are taken on the same island: in between maybe 15 minutes walking:

And since we started our trip we're witnessing the same problem in each country we hit. May it be the USA, Bahamas, Haiti or the Dominican Republic - they all are facing a garbage problem. In all those countries your groceries are stuffed in several plastic bags - sometimes they use 2 bags for a single item (bringing your own bag does not help: if you're not watching it gets wrapped in plastic anyway!). At least we use them for our garbage but in the meantime we have so many on stock to last for the whole journey! The other big problem we encounter: everything from water to soda pop to juice is filled in PET bottles and what happens to them once empty? They get thrown away and streets are lined, beaches covered with it. And now the big question: why are these countries not taking action to stop this culture of throwing away everything into the bushes or into the seas? Why are they destroying their beautiful landscapes, the soil they live on, the sea they live from? Why do they tolerate that people are biting the hand that feeds them?
Well, I guess I'm not the right person to answer that question but just a few thoughts: all those countries either have other, bigger problems to solve first before they can face the "dirt" that's smothering their paradise. Here I have to point to the US as they should know better but as long they are not able to change the American Way of Life (for example Restaurants serving food in disposable dishes) who else will? And then I think it is lack of education - people are not aware of their actions and what they cause so they don't care. An example: I recently observed a dominican schoolboy buying a candy and instead of tossing the packaging in the bin just outside the store he threw it on the street. If nobody ever told him not to do so how can he know better?
In fact there is pure money lying in front of their nose and someone would just have to introduce a proper recycling system and two birds could get killed with one stone: they could earn money and provide jobs while the country was cleared of the garbage. Too easy you mean? Maybe, but something has to be done otherwise they will choke on their own waste pretty soon.
You agree that this would be very sad and so we still will try to post more perfect pictures of paradise than of plastic bottles... by the way, you always find more pics on our facebook page. Just "like" habibisails.blogspot.com

From paradise, with love

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