Cyprus Mail
Opinion

Rubbish is so endemic we stop ‘seeing it’

How I agree with your reader M Ward (July 22, letters).

I can recall when I arrived here to settle five years ago, I was shocked how filthy and untidy roadsides were – paper, discarded plastic bottles (the bane of my life) and food wrappers just dropped along the streets.

Then it recently occurred to me that I had become so used to the rubbish, I almost stopped noticing, until Sir David Attenborough’s wonderful Blue Planet II series caused such a furore around the world last year.

I pulled myself back into reality and starting looking properly again to see that rubbish – and plastic – is everywhere. Fly-tipping is almost endemic. Rubbish is so much ‘part of Cyprus’ that I believe we stop seeing it – as I did.

I observed two plastic bottles in the roadside, outside several houses on my route to work, that had been there for four months! Yes, four months and nobody has picked or cleaned them up. Today I couldn’t stand it anymore.

I stopped my car and collected them to put with my recycling – but why didn’t the house-owners notice them? But tourists to the island? No – they see it all.

Visitors ask why plastic bottles are discarded (often full of precious water) all around the country – streets, gardens, parks, beaches – everywhere. And I’ve lost count of the numbers of scenic drives which have been spoilt by the sight of someone’s old sofa thrown over the hillside, and picnic spots littered with the remnants of previous visitors’ barbecues.

It really is time to sit up and take notice and for authorities to start fining fly-tippers and litterers heavily, and to introduce laws to enforce recycling. I just don’t understand why people can’t take responsibility for their own rubbish. Cyprus is such a beautiful island – but its fast becoming the “ dirty man of Europe”.

S.Bouton, Paphos

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