Opinion: Entitlement

POSTED: 11/5/12 1:04 PM

Mary Smith, a retired journalist of National Geographic, has a keen eye for our island’s environment. On Saturday she noticed how the garbage dump across from the entrance to the luxurious La Samanna hotel in the Lowlands had been enhanced by the addition of an abandoned toilet fixture, complete with seat and lid. “I pass by that spot probably times a week and have always marveled at the things that have been left there for “somebody else to handle,” Smith wrote in an email to the media.
At home, she first laughed about the odd piece of garbage with her husband Tom, and then she got serious: “The tourist season is about the go into high gear. Will the toilet be there for weeks to greet visitors to the French side? Well, if it’s gone, there will be other wonderful sights: abandoned animal carcasses, building materials, just plain garbage, etc., in great quantities.”
For good measure, Smith copied her message to St. Maarten Pride Foundation President Jadira Veen. “I greatly admire, as do many others, Jadira’s sense of outrage and action at the deplorable situations that exist unimpeded on both sides of the island.”
We are always more than pleased to receive Mary’s apt observations. The thing is many, if not all, people will agree with her. Why on earth are people dumping their garbage this way on public roads? Why do they think it is okay to make a mockery of our natural environment? And why do they take it for granted that somebody else will clean up after them?
This goes back to the sense of entitlement that has poisoned the judgment of whole generations. We have a government to clean up, right? We have a garbage collection system, right?
This is all true, and in the end the government will clean up the mess. But why make a mess in the first place? What is wrong with all those people who litter and pollute like there is no tomorrow and who are usually the first to scream blue murder when their garbage is not picked up? Somebody please find an answer to this question; a method to straighten out these litterers and polluters would come be a priceless bonus.

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