The importance of keeping a healthy, clean environment in our cities should be evident to everybody. However, the state of the streets in any city is pitiful: broken trash bags and their content scattered everywhere, excrement from animals whose owners take them for a walk, dirty parks and squares where children are supposed to play, etc. It is particularly outrageous to see people of all ages and social status throwing bottles, papers, etc on the streets when there are waste baskets a few meters away from them. These people do not realize that this behavior is counter-productive for all of us.
This careless behavior is aggravated by the appearance of “cartoneros”. Cartoneros is a term that describes unemployed, poor people who rummage in trash bags in order to take out whatever may be useful for them and are one (if not the main) reason why our streets are so dirty. After rummaging in trash bags, the cartoneros move to the next bag leaving behind them the trash they cannot use. The result: streets looking like a battlefield, a battlefield through which we will have to walk the following day. Let us also consider the fact that Buenos Aires has become a favorite city for tourists. Most tourists describe Buenos Aires as a very nice city BUT also very dirty. This is a very embarrassing description!
We can help to have cleaner streets by simply adopting some habits, such as:
• Do not throw paper, bottles or other trash on the street; it is much better to keep it in our purses or pockets until we find a waste basket.
• If we are on a bus or underground train, let’s do the same.
• If we take our pet for a walk, don’t let them perform some of their “bodily functions” and then go away. Instead, we can take with us all the necessary elements to pick it up or clean the dirt they made. It is not a nice job but having a pet implies responsibilities and this is one of those responsibilities. In addition, we can try to avoid taking our pets to parks where children usually play.
It is also important to bear in mind that dirt attracts cockroaches, rats, worms (among others) all of which carry diseases whose transmission to humans can be avoided in simple way: putting trash where it belongs!
It is our duty to teach children to be clean and respect and love the Mother Nature, and we must correct adults who are disrespectful toward her. A change of attitude concerning this issue will improve everyone’s life quality.