This post is brought to you by the delightful – Lon (mochafueled) – who will be available for questions and arguments in the comments section.
Lovely clear blue skies, a gentle breeze with a pleasant warm temperature I started my walk along the Wistula River this past Sunday. Starting at Poniatowski Bridge at a little after the lunch hour I started a leisurely walk north towards the Old City along the water front.
I had put out of mind my experience the previous week, World Earth Day, of all the broken glass, discarded beer and wine bottles and overflowing trash cans that I saw along the way. Sadly I was greeted again by broken glass, bottles and trash every few meters along the cement steps that line the water front of the west side of the river all the way to the Old City. But what struck me most was all the people casually sitting or congregating amidst this mess and blight on the river bank. It was if I was experiencing an Emperor has no clothes moment…. All the rubbish but no one see’s or will speak up.
I had also just come from a walk in a park with a Polish friend. When I pointed out to her the bits of bottle caps and trash near our bench she agreed with my disgust but with one difference, she felt no obligation to help clean it up… as a tax payer she felt it was not her job, which left me wondering how many other people feel that the cleanliness of Poland is not their job. I have seen plenty of trash filled parks and roadsides in the last eight months.
Poland is full of people who love nature; to run, bike, hike, canoe and camp in its beauty. But yet on more than one occasion I have come across filth in public spaces while people just blindly carry on around it. Except for a Facebook post on the US Embassy page I would not have known last Sunday was World Earth Day and Poland was clearly not doing anything special to clean things up. I could put this all down to another 3rd world country too busy with living to care about its public spaces. But Poland is not a 3rd world despot and is supposedly trying to clean itself up for Euro 2012 in a few weeks… but from what I see it matters not what work the local governments do to clean up the city if the people of Warsaw do not pitch in and help. What will greet football fans who venture here will be a dirty city trying to hide its crumbling pieces and dirty parks and roads.
So I ask who is responsible for a clean Warsaw and a clean Poland. Is it the government or the people? It would only take ONE person with a heart to love and clean this city to make a difference and show the world a clean and lovely landscape.