Editors note

Phewf! Did you survive the onslaught of tourists? Isn’t that something?! I had a friend come visit this week and so, in undertaking hosting duties, I went to the malecon, the beach and even a booze cruise during this incredibly busy time. What struck me most was not the crowds but the garbage left behind afterwards. I know it is to be expected but time and time again I found myself searching for a garbage can and came up short. This scenario plays itself out across this bay and I often wonder the always ubiquitous… “WHY are there not more garbage cans?” Whether it is along the river park by my house, at the sports arena, on the hiking trails or on the street, there is never a garbage can when you need one.
Now, I have long stopped expecting an answer to the question of why. Things are done differently in this country, that is a given, and many times the answer to why only leads to more (unanswerable) questions. I vividly remember watching the “Give a hoot, don’t pollute!” commercials during after-school cartoons some thirty years ago. I remember the colouring contests that the local mall would hold each year based on the ‘no littering’ educational attempts. And today, it causes me pause and pain to even consider throwing garbage down on the street. When even pondering the possibility of gently placing a piece of trash on the ground, I actually flinch from my mother’s glare despite the fact she lives 4000 kms, two borders and an idyllic ferry ride across the Georgia Straight away.
I understand there are educational programs being taught in (some) schools throughout this country but it is clearly not enough. A child focused marketing and educational program combined with increased access to garbage cans, recycling stations and a stern talking to from my mother would go a long way to cleaning the beaches, streets and parks in this otherwise spectacular country.
As it is, I carry a plastic bag around with me when I walk the dogs along the river and try to pick up what I can. I know there are groups such as the Basura Brigade, sponsored by Que Pasa restaurant in Emilio Zapata neighbourhood that meet weekly to clean their small patch of paradise. This week, the city of Puerto Vallarta is promoting a beach clean-up at Playa Los Camerones on April 26th at 8:00am. I suppose short of taking more dramatic action, I ask that homeowners and businesses help by placing garbage cans along the street. Even a cardboard box with a bag inside will help.
We have one more weekend of Semana Santa revelers before the streets truly quiet down and then, only a few weeks before the rains come and rush that garbage straight into the rivers and oceans. As a full time resident, this is your home and as such you should protect it. As a visitor, let me ask – would you throw that plastic wrapper in the street back home? What would your mother say?!
Together we can help to make a difference through access, education and example. Ultimately there is only one earth and on this Earth Day (week), let’s reflect on what more we can do to make an impact.
On that note, the hike from Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas is still a wonderful way to spend the day in nature, though go earlier in the morning because it’s scorching hot out there. Looking for an excellent day on the water? Join the Alley Cat Charters out of the La Cruz Marina for excellent service, delicious food (no bimbo bread and fake, fake cheese sandwiches here) and top quality beverages. Want to get out on the town and dance the night away? Try Reggae night at Cuates y Cuetes in front of the pier on Friday or Saturday nights. So much fun!
Until next week, be kind to our visitors, pick up some trash and enjoy the treasures that this bay offers you.