Friday, November 15, 2013

"plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"

The above quote was a favourite of our first dictator, Burnham.  It is a French epigram meaning "the more it changes, the more it's the same thing".  Gerald Durrell in his 1954 book 'Three Singles to Adventure' decried the Guyanese propensity for making grandiose promises and not delivering. Foreigners/investors/exploiters years later have discovered the same annoying trait to the extent that they walk with their own workers to do menial chores as they claim Guyanese cannot be trusted!  It is basically The Peter Principle on a grander scale due to lack of people/education.

So by chance I happened to be reading about Waste Hierarchy, based on the European Union's rules for waste management. Now some very sensible people worked out the Stages to reduce the amount of waste that threatens us all on a large scale -- non-biodegradable waste can linger in the environment almost infinitely and/or then breakdown to cause further damage, poisoning the soil and water supplies in addition to causing Climate Change and its devastating effects-- witness the 'worse storm ever' in the Philippines.  These stages are - initially to try to reduce producing waste, re-using the product- either for its initial purpose or an innovative new purpose, recycling the product, other forms of recycling such as energy recycling ( Sweden currently leads the field - producing energy from waste- 50% from household waste - generating as much energy as 1.1 million cubic metres of oil) and then finally - responsible disposal - not just digging a hole and dumping the waste to rot - but lining the sides and base to prevent leaching of waste 'juices' from contaminating ground water, hopefully harvesting the methane produced and preventing pests from breeding.

Guyana in its wisdom and propensity for spending 'big money' on projects they are barely able to understand are diving headlong into the THIRD step - a recycling plant. To give some background, we have a lingerie shop called 'Secrets of Victoria', an opticians called 'Lenscrafter'- presumably one of the owners is called Len, and not to be undone... adisgruntled technician who used to work for them went off and set up shop as 'Lens Optical Designers' - there have been numerous ads in the papers taken out by companies who are keen to inform the reading Public that a Company with their misspelt name - is NOT them. 
So not unsurprisingly, a Guyanese living in Canada woke up to the idea of using a Canadian recycling company's name to persuade the Government to spent U$30 million( thinking about it-- I must be worng-- must be 30 million Guyanese-- U$150,000? always get mixed up with the noughts!) to open a recycling plant. The bona fide company in question told a local newspaper,opposed to the government, that a plant for this size of the population should be in the region of $3million ( where the 27 million going??). They did not point out that there are two other necessary steps before getting to recycling and both involve educating the Public-- and most likely the ignorant officials who think throwing other people's money is the answer to Life's problems.
Brings back memories of Mr 10%.

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