The issue of recycling is becoming a major concern for both the general public and the economy. Scientific research has suggested that, due to lifestyle patterns of citizens, the earth is being depleted too fast to sustain a healthy balance. The earth’s natural resources are being consumed at a rate that reinforces the idea that we are living for today, and future generations will be paying for the consequences as a result of our lifestyle choices.
For years now, calls for citizens here to dispose of their waste in a responsible manner have fallen on deaf ears, and the issue of garbage build-up in and around the city continues to be repeated.
Governments and businesses all over are realising how serious the problem is, and are taking steps towards putting policy mechanisms in place to ensure that the environment is protected from various forms of pollution etc. Recycling along with reducing consumption has proven to be an effective way to counter the damage we have been doing to the earth for centuries.
A major part of recycling relates to how best we can recycle much of what we use, instead of turning it into unusable waste. For the sake of emphasis, recycling is important as a means of reducing poisonous emissions into the atmosphere, and also to spare our natural resources.
Guyana has indeed taken some time to get “on board”, while many companies and individuals in other parts of the world are improving their recycling habits by coming up with more ways to reduce and reuse what they use. In essence, while there has been much talk about the need to recycle certain products to save our environment from further damage, in a practical sense, the concept has not taken much root here as yet.
Only a handful of companies have shown that they are really serious about moving in this direction. For example, in a bid to support the efforts to sustain and maintain a clean and healthy environment through the provision of proper disposal mechanisms and technology, the Caribbean Containers Inc (CCI) had launched a line of bio-degradable products called Eco Pak. The Eco Pak products consist of bio-degradable table wares, including bowls, boxes and cups which are all environmentally friendly products because of the materials and the process utilised to manufacture them.
The then PPP Government had made an offer of tax-free concessions to individuals and businesses willing to invest and set up recycling plants for plastics and Styrofoam. This was viewed as a good start, and from all indications, a few companies had expressed an interest in taking up the offer. However, we are not certain as to how far these companies have actually gone ahead with actual implementation of the project ideas.
That being said, if we are serious about maintaining a healthy and clean environment, consumers must demand that businesses engage in practices that are more eco-friendly. For example, consumers must be encouraged to purchase from companies that manufacture more eco-friendly products.
As part of efforts to spread the message of recycling, a comprehensive education and public awareness campaign would need to be carried out, using every available means. Following this, the authorities should explore setting up recycling centres across the country, since it makes no sense preaching about recycling if the necessary infrastructural support system is not present.
In addition to the positive impacts on the environment, recycling brings in a lot of money for many countries. Companies make huge sums from basically utilising the materials that could otherwise have been thrown away.
We believe that there is need for lifestyle changes among our citizens, and it would be very helpful if the schools, religious organisations and local Neighbourhood Democratic Councils and Municipalities in every region start the conversation with citizens about recycling. This should be done with the direct involvement of the decision makers. Certainly, everyone prefers products that are manufactured in an eco-friendly manner, and wants a better, cleaner and healthier environment.