In this post, I am taking the broad view of global health to encompass the actual health of the globe and the unfortunante but constant scenes of litter I have seen throughout my travels. Stretching down from Mexico through Guatemala to El Salvador and now Honduras, I have seen far too many roads covered with trash and refuse, and rivers filled with garbage. I keep watching in horror as people wantonly litter their bottles and trash out the bus windows or merely drop their garbage in the streets. It makes me cringe, and I chide the offenders as best and respectfully as I can. It is shocking to see people so carelessly toss garbage into fertile fields. The children of those who worhipped the earth as gods now fill her with plastic bottles and trash.
I wrote an earlier post on a Mexican domestic public diplomacy campaign to socialize better environmental awareness. People seem to have simply been socialized not to care or not to think that they shouldn`t toss their litter out. There is some serious work to be done in this regard in this entire region, and I quickly becoming aware of its urgent necessity.
The fact is that the majority of the trash I have seen tossed out bus windows and littering the side of too many roads are plastic bottles. The cheap disposable soda bottles are ubiquitous. Yet irony is that there is nary a glass bottle on the road. In fact, most little stores, shops or kiosks won`t even let you keep the soda bottles, and either dump the contents in a bag to drink or make you drink the bubbly on the spot. That is because there is value for the returned bottles but no value to recycling the plastic bottles.
Perhaps if there were a recycling campaign to provide some return for the plastic bottles, people not only would not toss them casually but spend their time on the roads picking up such sources of wealth. Between an organized recycling campaign to provide a modest return for the plastic bottles as well as a modest public diplomacy campaign to socialize behavorial norms not to litter, there could be some progress to curbing such practices and curing this malady.