Like any true relationship, my love affair with Crete bears its ups and downs.
A magnificent country, sharing unhindered, it`s bountiful wonders, hidden secrets, traditions and hospitality. At the same time, it`s very image is being sullied by careless dumping of endless rubble, rubbish, mattresses, and any other manner of unwanted electrical appliances, over road edges and less frequented roadsides, with beverage bottles, cans and plastic cups decorating hedgerows, mingled along with garbage, which has obviously escaped the uncovered trucks and garbage wagons en route.
I usually blinker my vision and tell myself that it`s just the way things are here, but sometimes, the unfairness jabs away at my conscience. Unfair – because this country deserves better, it should be treasured, nurtured, loved.
Many`s the time, I go up on to our road with black bin liners and tidy away the beer cans, coffee cups and debris, but its not enough. Just walking along the road into Agios today, darkened my day.
Trying to justify these thoughtless actions, I came up with one possible reason. Our road, the old National High road, leads to the town refuse depot, where all garbage is taken. The gate opens at 8 am and closes at 2 pm. For sure, truck fulls of personal rubble and rubbish, don`t always neatly present in this time frame, hence fly tipping will be the next best option. The sad fact is, that the local council is provoking this phenomena to a certain degree, by not making available to all, with more accessible opening times, the town refuse depot.
The fact that Greeks are neither encouraged, nor taught to dispose of their waste properly, tallied with this throw away society which we all live in, creates a world in danger of drowning in refuse.
Hindered by a faltering infrastructure, and obvious governmental deficiency of funds, I understand the perhaps improbable ability to organise refuse disposal conscientiously and suitably, but surely, isn`t it more pertinent now, than ever? Is nobody else concerned?
A solution to the root of the problem is tough, but a solution to the effects of the problem could be simple.
Prison inmates seem me, to be an obvious source of free labour, whom basically, have the the luxury of sitting around all day in a cell, paid for, by the hard come by money, of the tax payer.
Armed with the necessary equipment to clean up the periphery of the town, small parties could be escorted to afflicted areas, under the supervision of guards reasonably easily, so the clean up could be executed.
Perhaps this would serve the inmate too, in a conscience provoking sense, to be a more active and responsible member of society.
This was just a glimmer of a thought, in the midst of my fleeting “tiff” with Crete. The inevitable “make up” though, is always sweet.