This is Paradise?
Paradise, wherefore art thou?
Hello everyone FatGuy here,
I have been traveling the beaches and surrounding areas of a paradise known as The Philippine Islands. The scenery is so beautiful it is hard to believe where I am sometimes. But there is one thing I have noticed as I travel and it is very consistent here. It is the trash, it is everywhere and I am not just talking about the beaches.
I have taken notice of this because I was under the impression that the Filipino people actually cared about their beaches and their home. But now I know that not to be true. The things that I will recount here actually happened and I am amazed at how people reacted when I said things to them about it.
THE BASKETBALL GAME
In the neighborhood where I am staying they recently had a basketball tournament that pitted the different areas of the Barangay against each other for a trophy. The games were fun to go to and watch. There were vendors for things like BBQ meat on a stick, boiled corn on the cob on a stick, Filipino cheeseburgers and cold drinks. The kids would enjoy these treats in their plastic wrappers to keep them sanitary. As soon as the treat was gone and all that was left was the trash, the child would throw it on the ground.
I would stare in disbelief at the spectacle, the child had done this right in front of the parent, the crowd, everyone without so much as a thought about it being wrong. I began to look around, there was more trash and garbage on the ground than there was grass. The trash was literally covering the ground to the point where you could not see the ground in some spots.
I watched some more and then what I saw totally shattered my belief. I saw adults doing the same thing as their children. Throwing their garbage on the ground at their feet carelessly like that was the thing that should be done. I began to feel ill at the situation and stopped watching. With so many doing it the ground would soon be completely covered and I really didn’t want to watch that happen. So I turned my focus back to the game.
THE SCHOOL GRADUATION CEREMONY
I didn’t actually attend the graduation ceremonies at the school. The school teaches grades K-6 and I did not know any of the children that well so I didn’t feel comfortable being there. I did however walk by the school about an hour after the ceremonies ended. I saw the sea of trash that had been left behind by both children and adults. I began to wonder if this was a common practice in this country. I asked my wife about it. She told me that a lot of people are just that way and there is not much that can be done to stop them. I told her that it was a mindset that could be changed if they really wanted to change it.
I have visited several beaches here in the past few months and have witnessed things that I wish I had not seen. There were people having fun everywhere and enjoying their time. When they left the beach their trash stayed, usually all strung out across the area that they had been using. Things that I find to be offensive and vulgar do not bother the average Filipino.
I even watched a news cast about how they needed to protect their beaches and not leave their trash everywhere. thhe next day I went to the beach to find even more trash had been left behind because it was a major holiday. I was having trouble accepting this and began to wonder what it was that I could do to help bring and end to this wanton destruction and carelessness.
I watched a man on the beach in Sabang, he was walking down the beach enjoying the moment and smoking a cigarette while he walked. He stopped, dropped his cigarette butt on the ground and looked at the sign that said please don’t litter. He moved away without picking up his cigarette butt, by the looks of things there is full contempt of anyone telling anyone how to do things.
At Dinidaiwan and Patar beaches we found empty bottles that formerly carried alcohol, filled with sand and buried. Buried with the bottles were stinky diapers and other sorts of nasty garbage and assorted trash. Who has not seen many pics of those of us who get buried in the sand? Well you cannot do this if you find such things buried just under the surface of the place you hoped to call paradise.
Every Beach, road and path that I have walked in this great country has this problem. When you look to the sides or behind the rocks you find it. The trash that someone threw there. I was beginning to become discouraged that there was not going to ever be an end to it. I decided that it was time to do something about it before these places become destroyed and their beauty taken from us.
WHAT CAN I DO?
This is what I can do, I can write about it. Shame on you people that allow these things to happen and not do anything about them. The people who just stand and watch without saying anything are just as bad as the ones that are committing the act. If you truly love you wonderful country then stand up and do something about it. I know that it will take a herculean effort to overcome because you are vastly outnumbered by those that seem to not care about trashing this place. But I believe most think the way I do and soon we will outnumber those who do not care
I know that I am just a “Cano” or a “Foriegnoy” but I am also a citizen of the planet and you people are destroying the planet. Do you not care that those places that you bury with your refuse will not be there for your children and grandchildren to enjoy? Do you not know that trash dumps are breeding grounds for disease and disease carrying vermin? Do you appreciate the paradise you live in? These questions and many more come to the forefront of my mind.
I don’t really blame the common people that much. It is what has become acceptable over time and you only know what was taught to you by those who reared you. In the United States we had our battles with this sort of thing, we cured it in a generation. I am not saying we do not have trash because we do, but most people here put their trash in receptacles or take it home and dispose of it.
All it took was education about picking up your trash and putting in proper places. There were also Television programs put on by the government teaching children the proper ways to dispose of trash. Groups of people banded together to go out and clean up roadsides. It will take a group effort to turn this around.
A program in Oregon (another paradise) and in several other states I have visited, volunteers have their name put on a sign along the side of the road because they have taken personal responsibility for a certain part of the road and along its ditches. They go out and clean up the trash that the wind and other things bring in. This is all volunteer work. There is no pay for it, these are common citizens going out and being an example to the world. My hat is off to them and I am proud to be an American when I see such things. So paradise can be maintained, not perfectly but we are seeking perfection, just some action.
DON’T SAY THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.
I don’t accept this statement. There is something that we can all do about it. Teach the children to not throw their trash all over the place, show them the appropriate places to put it. Have enough intestinal fortitude to say something to someone when they trash your home. We all live here, let’s live here in this paradise without the trash.
I for one would like for my great great grandchildren and beyond to be able to enjoy these beautiful places in their lives, this destruction must stop for all of our sakes.
Let’s clean up paradise, if not for us then for those we leave behind.
See you out there,