Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Garth Rattray | The pollution solution

Published:Monday | September 26, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Once I picked up a friend at the Norman Manley International Airport. We couldn't help but notice a large flotilla of plastic objects undulating serenely in the water nearby. Recent rain had washed them out to sea from gullies. It was the ugliest thing I've ever seen.

Not so long ago, my car was almost hit by a partially empty plastic soda bottle tossed out into the middle of the street during the rain by a young woman. The way that she unflinchingly met my admonishing stare sums up how hundreds of thousands of our citizens view throwing their garbage wherever they please ... . "So wah!!"

Pollution is only a symptom of the deeper, endemic, chronic and profound indiscipline and lack of accountability. Until we tackle those head-on, we are wasting our time and effort.

There is this little island, in the Caribbean Sea

It's home to many people, just like you and me.

This island has many problems, indiscipline and crime abound

Perplexing, confusing and frustrating, no solution can be found.

We once were just a colony, of Great Britain no less

But on Independence Day, where we'd go, was anybody's guess.

But politics took over, it did not lead the right way

Instead it brought divisiveness and a lot of power play.

No one fought to free this nation, no blood spilled to break away

No sacrifices made to set us loose, not to this very day.

But there's always a price for freedom, it may not be obvious to all

Without a strong and unified foundation, a weak society will fall.




And so we all took for granted, this wonderful paradise

A fantasy of happiness, ads depict scenes of everything nice.

But beneath the fancy flimsy facade, rot and decay grew

Crime, corruption, greed, selfishness and indiscipline too.

Try as the authorities might, many citizens won't toe the line

The psychology of many people is, whatever I want to do is just fine.

It's illustrated in our homes, communities and in the streets

Rampant indiscipline on our roads, comparable to daredevil feats.

It's in the way we treat each other, oftentimes gruff and rude and hard

We've taken to scamming other people, both here at home and abroad.

Wanton stealing and raping ... exploiting and lots of killing too

Leaves decent citizens worried, disappointed and most of all, very blue.

At the root of all this evil, indiscipline reigns supreme

Nothing good can be achieved, without discipline in the grand scheme.

But fear of retribution, of the political kind

Makes the powers-that-be indecisive, no courage can they find.

They know what's good for the nation, they know what they must do

But they're afraid to do it, lest their votes be few

And so we continue sadly, in the same vein

Until there comes a brave leader, no progress will we gain.

We must take back our country, from the 'anything goes' crew

We must stop them at every turn, we must tighten the screw.

We must enforce our laws, throughout society

We must make no exceptions, no matter who it may be.




We know that deep corrupt roots, pervade both far and wide

We know that it won't be easy, we'll be in for a long, rough ride.

But we must start doing something, before it's gone way too far

We must take hard decisions, as if we are at war.

It's a war against indiscipline, make all obey the rules

From cleaning their surroundings, communities and schools.

Recruit homeland wardens, the cops can't do it alone

Accept electronic surveillance, from both camera and phone.

Beef up the justice system, enact laws to make it fast

Don't just embark on temporary crusades, make the discipline last.

Have a citizen watch programme, to report surreptitiously

On anything and everything, that the watchers see.

Once we instill discipline and enforce it every day

Polluters will realise we're serious and from the path won't stray.

They'll stop flinging garbage, in the streets and gullies too

Discipline will stop the polluting, to the laws they will stay true.

- Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to and