If not today, when?

It has become apparent and of recent, more glaring, that we have become increasingly irresponsible in disposing our trash, which eventually ends up in our drains and waterways. The voluminous build-up of garbage in communities across the country speaks of a society that is yet to be trained on proper waste disposal. We are guilty of indiscriminate dumping of garbage.
A casual drive around many communities would reveal the shocking truth: in many areas, there are mounds of garbage strewn across the reserves and roadways. As an attempt to conceal the act of indiscriminate dumping, some perpetrators dispose of their trash at night and would go so far as to travel to neighbouring communities and villages to commit the act.
How sad that we have become so callously abusive of our environment. We only think of Mother Nature when calamity or disaster strikes. Every human being should go the extra mile of caring for our one and only Mother Earth.
Many of the smaller communities do not have regular garbage disposal services, and most private collectors would service these areas at least once a week; does this then excuse the action of residents to take their waste elsewhere? There are so many other options for solid waste disposal.
In most developed and developing countries, like Guyana, with increasing population, prosperity and urbanisation, it remains a major challenge for municipalities to collect, recycle, treat and dispose of increasing quantities of solid waste, especially in a changing climate. Everyone is aware of the issues we are facing with solid waste management.
Isn’t it high time we took part in making our society garbage-free? Communities cannot rely solely on our Government to clean up the environment. A concerted effort is highly needed.
A cornerstone of sustainable development is the establishment of affordable, effective and truly sustainable waste management practices. We should, therefore, make it a daily habit to help control the floods and other problems caused by the mountains of garbage we throw away. What is lacking is discipline in disposing of our garbage properly.
It was reported that the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the Earth’s atmosphere have surged past an important threshold and may not dip below it for “many generations”.
The 400 parts per million (ppm) benchmark was broken globally. According to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), a new global warming report titled “United in Science,” averaged global temperature for 2015-2019 will be the warmest of any equivalent period on record. It is currently estimated to be 1.1 C above pre-industrial (1850-1900) times and 0.2 C warmer than 2011-2015.
Further, the report stated that observations show that global mean sea level rise is accelerating, along with an overall increase of 26 per cent in ocean acidity since the beginning of the industrial era.
What is alarming is that experts say that the last time CO2 was above 400 ppm was three to five million years ago!
It is time to consider the reality facing the world today, and it is even more crucial to take stock of the individual responsibility for this global situation. It is highly improbable that citizens do not yet know the impacts of climate change and are unaware of current challenges across the globe, with regard to access to potable water, arable lands and in some severe cases, access to food.
The time has long since passed for affirmative action and the hour of reckoning is upon us; the Earth itself is sending a message and it behoves us to change our attitudes and behaviours. It is time we see the importance of becoming waste-wise and take the pledge to make a concerted effort to recycle more, and reduce the waste sent to the landfill. If not today, when would be the perfect time for action?